Anthroposophic therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity: A two-year prospective study in outpatients
Harald J Hamre1, Claudia M Witt2, Gunver S Kienle1, Christoph Meinecke3, Anja Glockmann1, Renatus Ziegler4, Stefan N Willich2, Helmut Kiene1
1Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Freiburg, Germany; 2Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany; 3Pediatric Consultant, Community Hospital Havelhöhe, Berlin, Germany; 4Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim, Switzerland
Background: Anthroposophic treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) includes special artistic and physical therapies and special medications.
Methods: We studied 61 consecutive children starting anthroposophic treatment for ADHD symptoms under routine outpatient conditions. Primary outcome was FBB-HKS (a parents’ questionnaire for ADHD core symptoms, 0–3), and secondary outcomes were disease and symptom scores (physicians’ and parents’ assessment, 0–10) and quality of life (KINDL® total score, 0–100).
Results: A total of 67% of patients fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD, 15% had an exclusion diagnosis such as pervasive developmental disorders, while 18% did not fulfill ADHD criteria for another reason. Anthroposophic treatment modalities used were eurythmy therapy (in 56% of patients), art therapy (20%), rhythmical massage therapy (8%), and medications (51%). From baseline to six-month follow-up, all outcomes improved significantly; average improvements were FBB-HKS total score 0.30 points (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.18–0.43; P < 0.001), FBB-HKS inattention 0.36 (95% CI: 0.21–0.50; P < 0.001), FBB-HKS hyperactivity 0.29 (95% CI: 0.14–0.44; P < 0.001), FBB-HKS impulsivity 0.22 (95% CI: 0.03–0.40; P < 0.001), disease score 2.33 (95% CI: 1.84–2.82; P < 0.001), symptom score 1.66 (95% CI: 1.17–2.16; P < 0.001), and KINDL 5.37 (95% CI: 2.27–8.47; P = 0.001). Improvements were similar in patients not using stimulants (90% of patients at months 0–6) and were maintained until last follow-up after 24 months.
Conclusion: Children with ADHD symptoms receiving anthroposophic treatment had long-term improvement of symptoms and quality of life.
Keywords: anthroposophy, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, combined modality therapy, prospective studies, quality of life
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