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Pros and Cons of Taking Summer Break from ADHD Medications

April 24, 2014
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Children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often take regular medications in order to manage their conditions. However, it is standard practice to take a break from these medications during the summer. The reason behind this vacation is that the break in drugs would lead to a growth spurt in kids who experience appetite suppression during stimulant intake.

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However, some experts have now started to resist the idea, pointing out that there can be significant disadvantages to a drug break in summer. They are also looking more closely to determine whether consistent medicine use has better outcomes for patients in the long run.

How do you decide whether to take a summer break from ADHD medicines? While the best thing to do is to visit your doctor for discussing your individual situation, knowing the pros and cons of a medication break can also help.

The Pros of Taking a Break from ADHD Medication

1. If you are simply using stimulant medications, there are no side-effects in taking them on and off. Therefore, taking a summer break with these drugs is harmless. However, if you are using non-stimulant drugs, these may require careful weaning and you need to check with a doctor first before stopping this drug. Again, when restarting the use of this drug after summer break, you will have to start it gradually a few weeks before school starts.

2. Often, a break from ADHD medication is suggested to see if it is needed anymore or not. Summer can be the best time for it since kids are not under the pressure of school work. However, just because a break is suggested does not mean you can avoid these medications once school starts again.

3. Summer break from medication can also be a good idea for kids who suffer side-effects such as loss of appetite due to these drugs. By giving up medications or trying alternative medicines you can work towards minimizing the side effects.

The Cons of Taking a Break from ADHD Medication

1. If your child is going to camp during the summer or is planning to take up some potentially hazardous activities like swimming or archery, having ADHD medication regularly can help improve their performance and safety. It can enhance their focus and concentration by limiting impulsivity.

2. If the use of these medications help improve the social and interactive skills of your child, continuing the medication during summer is beneficial. Even if you are simply planning to spend the day at home, the lack of medication can make it difficult for him or her to “play nice” and get along with you, limiting the quality time you get to have.

In time, it will be clear whether taking medicine continuously can have a positive effect on your kid or not. For the time being, consult with a doctor and decide mutually whether it is good for your child to take an ADHD medication break or not.

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