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- HEALTH WATCH: A Physician's Apology
To medicate or not to medicate ADHD kids during breaks
Updated: Thursday, September 19 2013, 02:34 PM CDT
ESCAMBIA COUNTY --
It's something many parents of children with Attentional Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder wonder.
Should we skip ADHD medications on weekends, holidays. How about during summer vacation?
Pediatric Neurologist Ben Renfroe says the term ADHD is the description of a child's personality type. It's genetic and he understands it first hand.
(("I've seen it on my personal personnel reports, A.D.H.D."))
That doesn't bother Renfroe but some parents struggle with revealing a diagnosis to outside caregivers...
(("Telling a parent, telling a camp counselor that a child has ADHD, they do put you in a bracket immediately."))
His advice -- be up front.
Mom Cherryann Gibson says she always makes a point to explain her child's medical challenges and medications.
She says she she used to give her seven year old daughter "breaks" from her ADHD medicine.
(("We tried to wean her off of it and she almost got kicked out of school."))
Should we medicate during the summer months, can we skip it for sleep away camp?? Renfroe says both are frequent questions.
He tells his patients parents -- if the child has a straight attentional problem, and behavior is not an issue, a break may be in order...Talk to your doctor, of course.
For patients with major hyperactivity levels he has a different take.
(("I want to let that kid have a positive experience at camp, and if that means that they should take medicine so that they don't embarrass themselves so they're not running around like a chicken with their head cut off, so I think they should take their medicine."))
Renfroe says parents should ask themselves -- which approach will contribute to their child's self esteem?
He says at 12 or 13, let the child take part in the discussion.
Renfroe says in making the decision -- look at the needs of the family.
He says the main challenges facing families dealing with ADHD are not whether to disclose or medicate. It's asking for help.
(("If you get a kids who is impulsive and hyper and destructive and constantly acting up and never giving you a break, it's difficult and we need to fess up...It's tough raising this child.))
Renfroe says his mom managed him with lots of outdoor play -- and encouragement.
Both are strategies Gibson uses. She says her daughter is exciting to raise and very artistic.
Renfroe says too often. The positive aspects of having ADHD are ignored.
He says folks with it are usually creative and energetic.
(("ADHD people tend to be the ones who are the ones who make the difficult decisions. To get out there and give the talk. To have fun with what we're doing."))
To watch the entire interview with Doctor Renfroe, head to our website weartv.com and click on Raw News.