ADHD Medication Vacations – Taking a Break

Many adults on ADHD medication look to take a medication “holiday” or “vacation” for two days, a week, or even for the summer. For those that do take a break from their ADHD medication many report that they want a break from the side effects, others may feel that they want an option to be “control free” where they choose to stop taking their prescriptions at various times during the year. Still others may take a med vacation wanting to see if it is the medications that have made a positive difference in their life or if their ADHD has resolved or become a non-issue.

When ADHD Becomes Symptom Free

Adults with ADHD who are taking prescription medication for the disorder may begin to notice that their old symptoms have significantly decreased or find they have been symptom free for several months. The decision to not only take a holiday from the medications but to discontinue their prescribed med regime is a common road that thousands will travel down every day. Of the thousands with adult ADHD who do decide to “just stop” their daily dosage, the majority do so without the help and guidance of an experienced ADHD psychiatrist or mental health practitioner.

Management of Drug-Free ADHD with Doctor 

While taking a break or “holiday” from ADHD drugs can be fine for most, it is important to work with your psychiatrist for follow-up appointments and good management of any symptoms or problems that may occur by discontinuing the ADHD medications. What may work could be a medication reduction without totally discontinuing your routine meds. Keeping your ADHD doctor in the loop is a crucial component to properly managing your behaviors, personality changes, or annoying symptoms.

Potential Risks of Stopping ADHD Drugs

Taking a vacation from ADHD medications does not typically turn into a dangerous situation, but there are some potential risks that need to be considered. Some of the most common risks are:

  • Side effects from stopping and then restarting medications too quickly without the guidance of a qualified practitioner
  • Development of problems at work or school
  • Problems cropping up that affect relationships, friends, or family
  • Social alienation
  • Reckless or impulsive behaviors start to occur

ADHD Benefits with Consistent Use

Numerous studies have shown evidence that adults with ADHD who take their medication regularly build and improve their executive functions and higher level cognitive processing as well as performing better socially than those with ADHD who do not take medication. In addition the ADHD drugs deliver improved attention, focus, and the ability to self-control hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.

Make the call to Dr. Hege to discuss your situation and determine the treatment plan that fits your lifestyle the best.

About Darvin Hege

Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is an Emory Hospital residency trained psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years. He maintains over 50 hours of AMA certified education each year to stay informed of advances in psychiatry.

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