When Should You Stop ADHD Medication?

Many parents grapple with the question, “Should I start my child on medication?”  but just as many parents also wonder when they should stop medication.  Some children will need to be on medication throughout their childhood and adolescent years. Other kids may be on medication throughout this time but, if their medication allows it, take holiday breaks such as weekends, summer, and extended breaks.  There may come a point where your child or teenager says, “I don’t want to take this medication anymore.”  Can you force him or her to take the medication?  This often becomes a battle that many parents face.

Ask yourself this question. Are my child’s grades satisfactory? If your child’s grades are satisfactory than he or she may not need the medication. Ask yourself this question. Is my child continually getting in trouble? If the answer is no, it may be time for a medication break.  Many parents are concerned that if their child stopped taking the medication their behavior will worsen for their grades will slip. Yet, at what point does the child need to start taking responsibility for their behavior and work? The pills don’t replace the skills that your child needs to be successful. If you stop the medication you may have to provide some tutoring or coaching to help your child learn the skills.

As parents we need to provide the support our children need. If they need the medication than continue it but if your child is asking for a break you believe he or she is ready for the responsibility that perhaps it’s time to stop the ADHD medication.