Taking a Break from ADHD Medication: Is It Right For Your Child?

Whether or not your child takes a break from ADHD medication during the summer is something that is a personal choice that should be made with great care and consideration. Ask yourself, “Are my child’s ADHD behaviors going to interfere with his/her success at summer camp or other vacation activities we have planned?” 

ADHD Medication: To Break or Not During the Summer?

Personally speaking, in the eight years that Jonathan has taken medication for his ADHD, this year has been the first that I have considered allowing him to take a “break” from his medication. We had no plans for summer camp this year, just hanging out at home, and it would have been extremely easy to watch his behavior and his actions.

Reasons for Taking a Break from ADHD Medication

Generally speaking, why parents often ask about whether their child really needs to take the medication during the summer is because ADHD is a stimulant, and it can have an effect on your child’s appetite. For instance, when Jonathan was taking Adderall, he would not eat – at all – during the day. He wasn’t hungry, therefore he did not want to eat. The minute his Adderall began to wear off, however, he was starving and would eat everything in sight. Many times, he would be lying in his bed, crying, because his stomach would be knotted with hunger pains.

ADHD and the Teenager

Since Jonathan has been taking Vyvanse for his ADHD symptoms, his appetite has returned full-force, and the boy eats from the time he opens his eyes until he closes them. While I prefer this over how he was when he was taking Adderall, my food budget has taken a heavy hit, especially with the teenage years and his growth spurts every few months! The boy can definitely pack it away now, that’s for sure!

What Should Influence Your Decision

In making your decision on this subject with your child – remember this: medication is not prescribed to make parents, teachers, camp leaders or church deacons happy.

ADHD medications are used to help your child have positive, successful, life experiences. 

Think about how your child is going to feel when he is constantly told to pay attention, keep quiet, sit still, behave yourself, etc. If you have even the slightest thought that this will happen – do not stop their medication – no matter how much they may beg and plead for you to do so. Decisions such as these should always take into account your child’s self-esteem and how his or her peers will accept him or her without the medication. 

Finally, be sure to always discuss medication changes with your child’s treating physician. When everyone works together to check and administer your child’s medication plan, it makes for a happy child and a happy household!

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