Tag Archives: Cognitive Processes

Consider A Medication Vacation For Your Child

Summer’s here and the time is right for taking a vacation.

Whether it be a (and I can’t believe I’m about to use this word) stay cation at home or a vacation somewhere less-than exotic, most of us look forward to a few days off work so we can relax and enjoy ourselves.

But what about your ADHD child? Most school-age ADHD children take some form of medication to help them alleviate the symptoms of distraction or hyperactivity. These medications allow those taking them to sit still and think straight for long enough that they can actually learn something  in the classroom and during homework.

ADHD medication, whether it be stimulant-based or otherwise, is designed to do one thing: alter behavior. The medication is supposed to allow the child to behave in a more situationally correct manner and it achieves this by suppressing natural behaviors.

Taken out of context, that probably sounds like a horrible idea. It’s only when we begin considering that the natural behaviors are counter productive and disruptive both socially and academically that we understand changing the natural order is, in this case, a good thing.

However, change does not come without a cost. Consider the child who doesn’t take her medication one morning. More often than not, she will come home from school in a foul mood, cross and angry with the world. This is because her brain no longer has its expected pharmaceutical buffer supporting her cognitive processes.

It’s jagged and jarring and can make life difficult for both the ADHD child and anyone around him.

And yet, here I am suggesting that you might want to consider taking your child off her medications during the summer. While I might still be considered an idiot by some, I’m on the right track with this idea.

I will say, as a sort of fair warning, the pediatrician our young dudes still see does not believe in medication vacation for summer as a matter of course. However, there are certain circumstances under which she will give her go ahead.

You might consider a medication vacation as a way of assessing whether your child can do without medication for good. Because children are growing, the effect medication has on them will change over time. It could be that your child would do better on a different medication or no medication at all.

The only way to figure that out is to stop the current medication. ADHD isn’t something you age out of. However, some folks with the disorder can find ways to circumvent the disorder so they won’t need the medication.

A lot of that has to do with maturity. When younger, most kids don’t have the mental discipline necessary to do what needs to be done to help them overcome the hardships imposed by ADHD.

You might also want to consider a medication vacation if your child has been suffering from side effects, such as a loss of appetite. Within days, you’ll discover that most kids will begin eating more once they no longer are taking their medication. This could help them catch up on their necessary weight gain.

If you do give your little dudette a medication vacation, understand that it’s not on a whim. It’s a good idea to assess the success or failure of the vacation as summer winds to a close.

It could be that impulse-control issues without medication made it a difficult time. Or you might notice that your child is exhibiting more defiance when off the medications. Regardless, it’s a good idea to sit down with your child, your partner and the child’s doctor to discuss what you learned during the vacation.

This information can be invaluable as you begin to plan for the school year ahead.

The main thing I want you dudes to take away from this is that you should never stand pat when it comes to your child’s health and welfare. They’re growing and changing all the time, which means your approach must be constantly evaluated to see if it can be changed or should stay the same.

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Freaky Friday: Eat, Think, Live

by Richard

You’ve heard the old expression, “You are what you eat,” yes? Of course you have. Turns out there might be a new saying in the offing: “You live as long as you think and eat well, of course.”

Yeah, I know. Not exactly a pithy saying that just trips off the tongue. It’s still a work in progress. Give it time.

What I’m talking about, though, is a new study that says older people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and have healthy cognitive functioning (they still think pretty good) have a lower incidence of heart disease than do older people who eat fewer fruits and vegetables, or have an impaired cognitive ability.

Researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia analyzed diet and cognitive data on 4,879 people (3,101 women and 1,778 men), age 70 and older, who took part in the U.S. Longitudinal Study of Aging. The participants were followed for an average of seven years.

The analysis revealed that:

  • Those who ate three or more servings of vegetables daily had a 30 percent lower risk for dying from heart disease and a 15 percent lower risk for dying from any cause during the follow-up period than those who ate fewer than three servings of vegetables a day.
  • There was a significant association between higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased prevalence of cognitive impairment.
  • People who scored high on cognitive functions tests were less likely to die from heart disease or any other cause during the follow-up than were those with low scores.

It looks like they’re implying that, if you dudes eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have better cognitive processes and be less likely to die. Sounds like a good reason to eat an apple a day. Still struggling with the concept of a brussels sprout a day. The thought makes me shiver. I think I need a blanket.

Go eat some bananas.

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