Is An Adhd Drug Holiday Practical?
Now that summer is here, many parents think that this might be the ideal time to let their ADHD kids have a ‘drug holiday’. This could be the right time to see what happens without the ADHD meds because the summer is more relaxing, there are fewer pressures and above all, there is no school. You should ask your medical provider first if this is alright before going ahead. But here are some things to consider while you are thinking about it.
Weight loss with ADHD meds is sometimes a concern and during the school year, parents have to adjust mealtimes to fit around a rather erratic appetite. Sometimes it is better to get the kids to take their meds after breakfast which is one solution. The weight loss and stunted growth worry many parents and this could be an opportunity for your child to catch up. That is certainly worth considering.
As regards sports activities, this very much depends on what your child is into. If you know that your child does organized sports on certain days, you can decide to medicate just on that day. Not exactly a total drug holiday, but a practical suggestion.
It is a great shame that there is no research done on the long term benefits of having a drug holiday and how it impacts ADHD, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics. That means we just have to do our own individual research which is not a bad thing because we can understand better the effects of the meds on the child and what happens when he is off them.
The whole idea of this exercise is to see if we can wean our kids off these drugs. We know from the research by Dr William Pelham and his team at the University of Buffalo that the effects anyway are going to wear off after three years.
In the meantime, we should have alternative strategies up our sleeve and certainly reducing frequency and dosage will be one of these.
Depending on the age of the child, it is a great idea to discuss what you are going to do and ask him for his opinion on the matter. He will have some ideas of his own and he may well welcome the move. For example, he may be delighted to get his old sleep patterns back, not to mention his appetite if he has been suffering from these side effects.
You can also decide on the basis of what are your child’s greatest needs. Are they social skills? If so and if you want to send him or her to summer camp, then a drug holiday might not be such a good idea after all.
So, there are many things to consider and it will be interesting to see what effects the drug holiday will have on the child. Will he still be able to function and behave? Will he be handicapped as regards socializing? These will have to be observed and noted.
But I know one group of parents who never have to decide if their kids need a drug holiday or not. This is because they are giving their children homeopathic remedies where there are no troubling side effects or health risks, so the issue never arises.
Robert Locke has researched and written on ADHD for many years. He has looked at the question of ADHD meds and also the alternatives. His blog looks at child behavior issues. He is a Diamond level author at Ezine Articles.