ADHD Drug Vacations can cause Learning Problems


Stopping ADHD Drugs during vacations can cause severe learning problems and damage self-esteem.

In my last post we posed the question: what happens to a child’s vacation-holiday learning curve once ADHD drugs have been stopped?

As we’ve discussed, ADHD children need to be able to pay attention and avoid excessive impulsivity to absorb the social things that help them develop friendships and get along with others, even when they are not in school. Likewise, these very same kids and teens, when behavior is normal, should be able to learn new things and adapt old skills during holidays and vacations that will help them make good grades when they return to school.

A child’s normal emotional maturity, social growth, and academic growth require they be able to pick up on and use the little things that help them learn. These include:
• Being able to absorb and remember what others say or what the child sees, feels, hears or senses
• Having a heightened level of curiosity that pushes the child to discover new and stimulating things (Like-reading a book, taking a radio apart to see how it works, joining a ball team or a Scouting group, building a tree house, going on his or her first date)
• Restraining impulsivity and risk-taking behavior only to the extent that they avoid placing themselves in danger or harm others
Picking up learning clues from other children (We know that about 25% of what a child in a classroom or in participation sports learns is learned by listening to and observing the other kids in the class or on the team and adapting it for their own use)!

When a child doesn’t take his or her ADHD drugs during the summer or over the holidays, all of these “extra learning senses” suffer and the ability to learn and adapt to the new and to the old drops like the proverbial rock. This places your child at a great disadvantage when they finally return to school, as the non-ADHD children will have read books, formed new and interesting friendships, and absorbed and retained memories and skills that help them succeed in the coming school year. He or she will feel frustrated by being behind or as one child, Jason, put it; “The other kids said I got dumber over summer, instead of smarter like them”.

You should always discuss your child’s ADHD medications with your doctor before stopping them.
It can take several weeks for both the blood levels and therapeutic effects of ADHD drugs to kick back in!
Dr. Frank

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