How Do I Manage Medication Side Effects?

No ADHD Med Vacation for Us

For some kids with ADHD, summer vacation brings a break from ADHD medications. Not at our house!

Today is the last day of school for my children. They gain their freedom this afternoon, and I lose mine! Sigh. No, it’s okay. I’m really looking forward to this summer–my first ever, as an adult and as a mom, that I won’t be working outside the home. I want to lavish attention on my kids, spend endless hours at the pool, be a cool mom during the hot days of summer.

For some kids with ADHD, summer vacation brings a break from ADHD medications. Not at our house! It’s clear that Natalie needs medication year-round. After all, taking medication helps Natalie with much more than just concentrating in school. My guess is that only a tiny minority of kids with ADHD–probably the “H”-less ones–can really thrive while taking a medication vacation.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with our pediatrician when we first talked about starting Natalie on Ritalin. She said that when considering whether or not to treat a child’s ADHD with medication, parents should assess how the ADHD symptoms affect the child not just at school, but in all areas of life. Take social interactions, for example.

During the tough months of med adjustments we went through last fall and winter, Natalie’s classmates noticed that her behavior was different. She was up and out of her seat a lot. She impulsively grabbed their stuff. After things settled back down for Natalie, med-wise, her teacher commented that her relationships with peers improved also. Those relationships are huge to Natalie. She’s so sensitive to kids being “mean” and seeing her as “different”.

If you’re planning a summer getaway with your family, you’ll compare hotels for cost and amenities, won’t you? Or weigh staying in a hotel vs. camping; gas prices against the cost of flying.

In the same way, compare the cost and the benefits when considering whether or not to give your child with ADHD a summer medication vacation.

How to Treat ADHD in Children: Next Questions

  1. What ADHD medications are used to treat children?
  2. Is ADHD medication right for my child?
  3. What are common side effects associated with ADHD medication?
  4. What natural treatments help kids with ADHD?
  5. What if the medication stops working?
  6. How can I find an ADHD specialist near me?