Chambry J, Billard C, Guinard M, Lacaze E, Idiart ME, Delteil-Pinton F, Cohen de Lara A
Encephale 2011 Jun;37(3):180-90
INTRODUCTION: In France, attention deficit disorder (ADHD) has traditionally met with two opposing approaches (biological and psychoanalytic). This conflict led us to conduct a multidisciplinary observational study, on a group of 36 children over a period of 1 year.
METHODS: Thirty-six children with ADHD diagnostic (DSM IV), not treated by MPH were included. Initial "multi-field" evaluation (T0) consisted of: neuro-paediatric consultation (Conners questionnaire, Child Behaviour Checklist, reading and writing scores by French tests); semi-structured child psychiatric interview (DSM-IV axis I), structural hypothesis (CFTMEA), existence of narcissistic fragility, parents/child interactions; neuropsychological standardized evaluation (attention and executive functions); psychodynamic interview and projective tests (Rorscharch, CAT or TAT). A therapeutic project is proposed combining MPH and psychotherapy according to the results. A new evaluation 1 year later (T1) included a consultation and a neuropsychological evaluation. RESULTS T0: All parental questionnaires appreciating attention deficit and hyperactivity/impulsivity were significantly pathological. The neuropsychological evaluation showed usual characteristics of ADHD with individual differences. The psychiatric evaluation revealed the frequency of comorbidity in axis I (23% of children with more than two diagnoses, 57% with anxiety disorder, 23 and 3% with oppositional and conduct disorder). FOLLOW UP (T1): Thirty-one children were re-examined (20 treated by MPH and 11 not treated because of parental refusal or particular psychopathological situations). Psychoanalytical psychotherapy, proposed to 28 children, was undertaken with only 19. An improvement in scores for attention and executive tests was registered only in the treated group.
DISCUSSION: The tests confirm deficits of attention and executive functions without correlation with the scores of questionnaires, underlining the need for a neuropsychological evaluation to objectify attention disorders. Projective tests refine and enrich psychiatric evaluation and showed that half of the children had borderline organization. However, structural hypotheses were heterogeneous, suggesting the need for specific therapeutic projects to be devised according to each child. The treated children were the only ones to improve attention deficit. On the other hand, the scores of anxiety are not improved by MPH, emphasizing the indications of psychotherapy if comorbidity is present. Psychotherapeutic care was carried out only among part of the population, because of parental reservations, exacerbated by differences of opinion among professionals and lack of access.
CONCLUSION: This study is innovative, providing precise data on ADHD from a multidisciplinary perspective. Psychopathological comorbidity is high in this population, so the concept of ADHD cannot be limited to a cognitive point of view. These elements and doubts regarding the efficacy of behavioural therapies suggest the need for a rigorous evaluation of analytical psychotherapies independent of MPH to treat attention deficit.