Living with untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a daily struggle for many people. ADHD is a chronic brain disorder, with symptoms including inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity, affecting behaviour and social interactions. People often find ADHD symptoms disruptive to their life, making it difficult to complete academic or professional tasks, and finding they procrastinate or are unable to pay attention.
To overcome these challenges, healthcare professionals prescribe a daily treatment solution that is essential to a person living with ADHD’s wellbeing, helping them to live a fulfilled life and being able to succeed in academics, and professional life.
How does treatment help?
Treatment targets the core symptoms of ADHD and helps people to:
- focus and concentrate better;
- reduce disruptive behaviour;
- enhance academic and professional performance; and
- improve how they interact in relationships.
When symptoms improve, it becomes easier to get through daily life with minimal disruptions. At this stage some people with ADHD wrongly assume they can stop their treatment, however, this isn’t true. Their symptoms are only better because of treatment, and the moment treatment stops, symptoms reappear.
How can a ‘drug holiday’ affect a person with ADHD?
During the holiday season, people with ADHD may take a ‘structured treatment interruption’, which is also called a ‘drug holiday’. This break from treatment can cause:
- symptoms to reappear within a day or two of stopping treatment;
- symptoms like hyperactivity, inattentive and impulsiveness to get worse, affecting daily life;
- treatment to take longer to work after restarting treatment;
- indulgence in reckless and impulsive behaviour;
- work, school and home life be affected negatively; and
- to feel socially isolated.
By taking a ‘drug holiday’, even for a short time, people with ADHD can lose out on the benefits of treatment, including setbacks to the progress they made while on treatment.
For people living with ADHD, it’s imperative to talk to their healthcare professional for the best, expert advice on treatment plans, and to stick to those plans. The Our Mental Health Facebook page and SANOFI in partnership with Janssen, continues to offer practical resources for parents, guardians and support for people living with ADHD.