Living ADDventure® did an online survey of our readers to establish what their opinions about when medication should be taken
There is always a great deal of debate around whether children (and adults) with ADHD should take their ADHD medication every day or only during school or work and then have a break over weekends or holidays.
This was not a formal or scientific survey but the comments shared were enlightening and interesting.
Below is a summary of the results. Your further input and comments at the end of this article will be greatly appreciated.
Number of completed surveys: 41
Surveys were completed by:
- Mothers of ADHD Children - 28
- Adult ADDers - 12
- Teen ADDers - 5
- Non-ADHD Spouses / Parents - 3
- Dads - 3
- Educators - 3
- Medical Pros - 2
Use / Not Use Medication
36 use medication / 5 do not use medication
When do you take medication?
- Adults - evenly split between daily 365 days/yr, Mon - Fri, Not on weekends and holidays
- Children - evenly split between daily 365 days/yr, and not on weekends and holidays
- Teens -evenly split between daily 365 days/yr, and not on weekends and holidays
Reasons why respondents did not use medication 365 days / year:
- Cost: 2
- Don't like side effects: 8
- Not necessary out of work or school hours: 12
- We have only recently started taking our child off meds weekends and holidays. He has developed an irritating coughing tic on the meds and we feel he also needs the break from the meds. Also, although very hyper, it is better than the black moods from the meds!
- If school holiday are short I generally carry on with medication except in the longer holidays, but then restart meds about 1 week before school starts
- I feel that the medication is to help the children concentrate and control their impulses to be able to focus on what is happening and enable them to participate. Not necessary during holidays as it is not a discipline tool and my son likes to try without when he is not under pressure at school.
- My son takes Concerta 365 but the top up Ritalin only Monday to Friday. Your Survey does not allow for this option so your findings will be slightly corrupted.
Kinders MOET volhou met medikasie - veral as hul so erg soos ons s\'n is- anders is die ouer MADHOUSE CANDIDATES!!!
- It depends on the people taking the meds. I was diagnosed as an adult, so have needed to take the medication to learn skills not learnt in childhood. I do allow my son to take breaks, as long as he takes his meds on social occasions and events where he may learn something new!,
- We have found neither of our daughters need to be medicated on thd holidays and this does allow them to eat normally
- I am a 14 year old boy and i don't like taking my meds on the weekend because I don't need to concentrate.
- I personally have to give him every day as I cant manage / handle my son when he is not on it .There is too many fights / chaos. I think its each families personal choice to give medication or not - but I agree for my son.
- Drug holidays are good as my son does not have ups and dowms and there is less chance of over excitement when bored and he gets on better with his siblings and friends
- I would like to give my son a break over the longer holidays but am not sure how to go about it. He is on concerta and dont want to just stop it as I am sure it has to be weaned off slowly. Then the time period isn't that long before he would have to start again so that is why I have kept him on it during the breaks. I would be interested in a medical opinion on giving Concerta a break., for the first few days he gets a brain freeze but that is a small price to pay for a healthy ravenous appetite which emerges and a lovely deep dreamy sleep which he so craves
- On the weekends and holidays i like him to eat more as it affects his appetite hugely and i feel he does not need it so much if he is not studying.
- We have on a couple of occasions forgotten a dose and the results have included horrendous (he hit his teacher) and no problem.
- We can manage my daughter without medication. She really needs it though for school so that she can focus. Drug holidays are therefore hard work, but we believe better for her in the long run.
- My daughter is very subdued when on Ritalin. She is not hyperactive but the inattentive ADD. She copes on the weekend and holidays without the medication.
- In general drugs are not good for children, but my daughter is much more focused, less problems with concentration and importantly, better sociable accepted by others.,
- It is important to keep my son's condition under control and consistent...even when it is a holiday,
- Medication is not needed on weekends and holidays as this time is used to gain weight.
- our son is given medication FOR SCHOOL and it is not necessary in out home or social environment.,
- Good for the child to be able to eat and put weight on over the holidays, as the medication takes away childs appetite. Similarly, good for the child to get to sleep easily over the holidays as the medication prevents the child getting to sleep at night easily. Negatives are that the childs behaviour deteriorates significantly when he is off his medication.Parents therefore have to weigh up the pros of significantly improved eating and sleeping with negative behaviour and make a judgement call as to what works for all involved, putting the childs needs before thier own.,
- My son does not eat properly and struggles to sleep when on the meds. Weekend free and holiday free drugs help him to recover from this side effect.
- I don\'t need to focus as much on weekends and holidays for myself.
- He certainly is a very busy boy on holiday without it but I can cope as he is on holiday. I do give it occassionally over weekend or holiday if we are going somewhere where I feel he would need to concentrate.
- Not good to have drug breaks as the off days are very different to the on days and makes parenting sressful and the child confused and angry.
- No drug holidays. Medication needs to be taken 365 days a year. Adderrall XR and more Canadian and American medication need to be approved in SA for those who don\'t do well on what is avaible currently in SA. Ritalin LA works well for me but may work differently for the next person.
- As my two sons have no problem to concentrate if they do things that they love, like playing, it is not necessary to put them on medication on holidays and weekend.
- I try to not take it when not working. Can\'t cope at work without meds. Cope at home, emotions are better under control with daily use ,
- I DO NOT like medicating my son, however i do it for my own sanity honestly on the holidays ( He was on ritalin now he takes methylphenidate hci-douglas 10mg x 4 a day.) When we do go out he has to take his medication or the outing is stressfull, it is not his fault but his hyperactvity is exactly that. During this holiday i am going to try concerta under paed supervision and see whether the aggressiveness lessens. Experience is a great teacher, so i,m hoping lessons can be learnt during this holidays and he will understand and REMEMBER there are consequences to our actions. What does concern me however is, does the medication take away the fun out of the holidays that he would normally have without is, eg laughing, he has a beautiful laugh good enough to get anyone cracking, but on meds he doesnt laugh so much. So all said, at home i prefer he off the meds in public however i prefer to give the meds yes it is selfish cause maybe i want to save MYSELF from embrassment, i,m tooo concerned with what people think.
Know The Jargon - ADHD Acronyms
ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD
ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD
ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder
CD - Conduct Disorder
OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression
SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder
ACT - Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®