Sheila Woods MD, FAAP June 3, 2012
Would you send your diabetic child to camp without his/her insulin?
Most parents would answer a resounding “No, of course not” but you might be doing something similar if you take your child off his/her ADHD medications during the summer. ADD/ADHD is a brain chemistry problem and can be compared, for example, to diabetes which is a blood sugar problem. Medication that helps your child’s brain chemistry become better balanced is like insulin helping your child’s blood sugar become better balanced.
While ADHD patients share a number of characteristics, no two patients are alike, just like no two diabetics require the same dose of insulin. In the past, doctors and parents alike viewed ADHD as a “school problem”; however, new evidence confirms that ADHD is a life span disorder affecting people differently at different stages of life and especially kids and teens from school to summer break.
For far too long, ADHD has been labeled as something other than a medical problem, but more recently parents and doctors have committed to diagnosing and treating ADHD based on precise and FDA cleared testing and professional guidelines based on evidence. Irrefutable scientific studies have demonstrated repeatedly that medication management is essential to improving symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Some children only have inattention, and others have various combinations of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Whatever symptoms plague your child, it is important to understand that if medication is prescribed by your doctor, it is essential for you to give the medication every day including weekends and summer breaks. On occasion, your doctor may request you to stop medication for medical reasons, but it is vitally important that you discuss any medication changes with your doctor first. It is easy for a child to develop frustration and even anger when his/her brain chemistry is balanced one day and not the next. After all, we would not ask a diabetic patient to manage their blood sugar one day and not the next.
Dr Sheila Woods is a Pediatrician with Focus in Greenville, SC. For more information on ADHD or to find out about the FDA approved computerized testing and customized treatment plans that FOCUS offers, contact Sheila Woods, MD, FAAP at 864-248-6393