Tag Archives: Medications

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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Facebook Literally Saved Her Life

SquareP is alive today because of Facebook.

Yes, I mean the Facebook you’re all thinking about, the social media gathering place for all of us old people now that the young have bolted for places like tumblr, snapchat and Instagram and others.

Okay, yes, Facebook did have a little help, but I think it’s safe to say that, without Facebook, there’s a very real possibility that a woman I’ve known for decades, SquareP, could be dead.

It started last week when my wife, known herein after for this post as The Doc, was out of town giving a couple of different lectures. She’s only been on the Facebook for a couple of months and has taken to it like a duck to water.

So, she was out of town and being driven from one lecture in Tennessee to the second lecture in Asheville, NC. As she was being driven along, she decided to check in on Facebook to see what was happening.

In her stream, she found a post by SquareP that said she was having a really bad headache and wanted suggestions.

“I couldn’t believe it,” The Doc said. “Is this how we get our health care now? From Facebook?”

When she related the story to me later, I told her to think of it as someone hanging around in the breakroom and asking co-workers if they knew anything for a headache.

Moving on.

The more The Doc read about SquareP’s headache, the less she worried about the rest of the posts and the more worried she became about her friend.

“Initially, I told her it was a migraine and suggested some medications that could help,” said The Doc.

However, SquareP insisted she had never had a migraine before and denied that it was one because this was the worst headache she’d ever had in her life. At which point all the alarm bells began ringing in the back of The Doc’s brilliant brain.

“The worst headache of your life. . . That’s a prime reason to go to an emergency room or urgent care and get evaluated. It could be a lot of things and none of them are good.”

The Doc posted that SquareP should call her. Immediately. The phone conversation consisted of The Doc listening for a few minutes and then suggesting — in the strongest, most order-like fashion — that SquareP hie herself to an urgent care facility or emergency room stat! Apparently, The Doc managed to scare SquareP enough that she did just that.

I’ll let SquareP tell the next bit in her own words.

Was diagnosed with a blood clot in my brain. Scared the hell out of me but it’s completely treatable. So if you find yourself having horrible headaches especially if you’re not prone to them and they come out of nowhere, get yourself to the ER. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Yes, dudes, a blood clot in the brain. As SquareP said, very treatable with blood thinners and the like, but damn scary. It had nothing to do with me and it nearly scared me insensate.*

It was an amazing set of coincidences that allowed all this to happen. SquareP happened to post asking Facebook for help about her headache at just the exact same time that The Doc just happened to be flipping through Facebook and had the time to respond. SquareP actually called The Doc and The Doc talked SquareP into getting evaluated in person by a medical professional.

Long-distance scaring by The Doc leading to a longer life for SquareP. And today she’s home and all is good.

Without Facebook, none of this happens and the outcome could have been much, much worse. And here I was thinking bad thoughts about the usefulness of Facebook. I take it all back.**

Footnotes & Errata

* Ha, ha. Yes, fine. It doesn’t take much. Very funny.
** Well, most of it, anyway. There’s still plenty to annoy.

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Diabetes Still A Pretty Hot Topic*

Diabetes is a rising scourge in our country. The incidence of diabetes has risen strikingly in the last few decades, becoming described as an epidemic.

With that in mind, I decided to step aside for yesterday and today to allow John Doe (yeah, really) who works with the Diabetes Care Community website, which is based out of our neighbor to the north, Canada, to talk a bit about the disease and look into why the incidence of it is rising so precipitously.

As we talked about yesterday, the main reason for this rise could have a lot to do with the culture of inactivity also creeping over our population here in the United States.

Take it away, John.

Much of the increased incidence of diabetes is due to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It is often related to obesity and to low levels of physical activity.

 The rise in type 2 diabetes in North America is particularly high. Studies show that over the past three decades, blood glucose levels in the U.S. have risen at more than twice the rate of those in Western Europe.

 These figures may in part be due to the rising numbers of immigrants from high-risk populations. These include people of Asian, South Asian, Hispanic and African descent. Increased life expectancy may also play a part, since older people are more at risk of developing diabetes.

 However, numerous studies also point to the Western culture’s dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle as being a major contributor to the rise in type 2 diabetes. For example, reliance on heavily processed and fast foods, together with high consumption of sugary drinks, may contribute to the elevated blood glucose levels found in uncontrolled diabetics.

 The rise of type 2 diabetes in Native Indian communities is often said to support this theory. Although there is likely a genetic element behind this population’s high risk for the condition, some Native Indian groups have seen such a rapid rise in incidence since the 1940s that other factors are also believed to be at work. These include the move from the traditional diet to the much more heavily processed foods of the typical U.S. or Canadian diets.

 Diabetes is an expensive disease, in more ways than one. A recent research report put the current annual global sales of diabetes medications at around $35 billion. This amount can only rise.

 The cost of these medications, supplies and ongoing healthcare is placing a significant economic burden on individuals and governments alike. Until a cure is found, diabetes will inevitably remain a hot topic for us all.

Thanks, John and the Diabetes Care Community folks up in Canada.

If you dudes are interested in learning more about diabetes, it shouldn’t be all that hard. Try hitting up places like WebMD, or even the U.S. government.

Even if you don’t want to find out more, you can help little dudes and dudettes in your family fight off incipient type 2 diabetes. Get the little dudes outside more often, run them around. Basically get them up off the couch and out from in front of the television. And cut down on the fast foods.

See? Easy peasy.


*Just so you know, right here and right now? This is the only way I’m going to acknowledge what anniversary falls on this date. Focusing on the horror only feeds the cause of the idiots who did it. We’ve mourned the dead, now it’s time to live up to our ideals. BTW, this little bit here was only me and does not come from John Doe or the Diabetes Care Community.

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