ADHD Drug Holiday: Should Kids Stop Therapy on Christmas Vacation?

Stopping ADHD Therapy during the Christmas holidays might cause worsened behavior and relapse of ADHD.

The holidays are rapidly approaching and more and more parents are asking about stopping their ADHD child’s medications or therapy while they are out of school.

adhd children vacationSo just what are the best answers to these questions: “Should I stop Andrew’s Adderall while he is out of school for Christmas?” “Doesn’t he need to take a break from these pills and all of that behavior training?”

The answers to both questions are…it depends. Yes, whether or not you should stop an ADHD child’s medication and behavior training over the holidays should depend on:

  • How well your child is doing on his or her ADHD therapy. Is their behavior so much improved that if you were to stop the ADHD drugs or therapy he or she will once again become very hyper or impulsive? Will annoying attitudes show back up?
  • Have you tried supervised ADHD drug holidays in the past? Were they successful or were you ready to pull out that last gray hair until therapy was restarted?
  • What are your expectations (or your child’s expectations) for your child over the holidays? Do you expect him or her to learn additional social skills? Children often learn very important social-family skills during vacations. They learn what to do and what not to do when certain things happen at parties and church gatherings by observing what others do or don’t do. And it’s difficult for them to observe and learn when they can’t pay attention. Do you want them to read a book to get ahead on that next book report or work on a science project?
  • Have you outlined a game plan to deal with your ADHD child’s misbehavior, bad attitude, and inattentiveness while off of ADHD medications?
  • Do you realize that it will take several days for his or her ADHD medications to start working well once started again? That means you’d have to restart the pills at least a week before school begins and you probably should not even think about stopping coaching at all.

As you can see, there are many things that parents of ADHD children and teens need to consider before stopping therapy for the holidays. ADHD drugs don’t work like flipping a light switch or turning on a faucet. Both ADHD medications and counseling require days to weeks to start working and many times even longer to be fully effective.

Maybe you might want to think twice about taking your child off of his or her ADHD medications or therapy over the Christmas holidays!

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