The simple answer is NO, ADHD affects every aspect of a person’s life. ADHD involves many problems around the core symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. A child does not have to exhibit all three core symptoms to be diagnosed with ADHD. Some children only exhibit one set of core symptoms. Some kids can have hyperactivity that becomes fidgetiness as they age. Some have inattention that manifests itself as poor school performance, forgetfulness, lack of following directions, day-dreaming, and inability to complete or remember tasks. In addition, those with impulsivity often have difficulty with interrupting conversations, completing other’s sentences, blurting out answers, and in general not thinking before they speak or act.
Medication improves all of these symptoms because medication improves dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity are correlated with lower than normal levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The longer and more consistently a child is on medication to correct this chemical imbalance, the more efficiently his or her brain functions. Long-term studies support the use of medication year round for overall improved academic outcomes, improved social functioning, and improved self-esteem.
Consider this- If your child is inattentive, do you want him or her to not listen to the coaches at sports camp? If your child is impulsive, do you want him or her to dart out in front of a car? Do you want your teenage driver to get a speeding ticket or impulsively drink the alcohol offered to him or her during the summer? If your child is hyperactive, do you want him or her bouncing through the house or constantly running at the pool all summer long?
It truly is in the best interest of your child and your family to continue ADHD medication during the summer. Please discuss any concerns you may have about medication during the summer with your child’s doctor.
Article by Dr. Sheila Woods