Medication is a crucial aspect of ADHD treatment. The decision to medicate is highly complicated and should not be taken lightly. However, if ADHD medication is the right course, it is important to consider how and when medication should be administered to best benefit your teen. One often overlooked factor in taking medication: the time of day. Its important to note, that in addition to any ADHD medication, other more long term strategies including wilderness therapy should also be considered.
Medication When Your Child Needs It
A former Wilderness Therapy student – an intelligent sixteen-year old teen suffering from ADHD, who was struggling in school – is a prime example of how medication is not effective in and of itself. He had been taking medication for some time, but with limited success. Results showed he was better focused for the first half of the day, but less so in the afternoon—his grades in the afternoon classes were significantly lower than his morning classes.
The parents of this teen were divorced and didn’t communicate with one another and for the most part, the teen was responsible for administering his own medication.
Upon discovering the link between time of day and his slipping grades, he was able to adjust the dosage and time of day to appropriately reflect what he needed. Some was given in the morning, and some later in the afternoon. The result? He was able to focus for the entire day, allowing him to accomplish more of his schoolwork and boost his grades in those afternoon classes.
This case shows that taking prescribed medication for ADHD isn’t enough. The dosage and the time of day are significant factors in success. Speak with a doctor or health professional to ensure your teen gets the most benefit out of his or her medication.
Other Contributing Factors: Lifestyle
Besides taking medication at the correct the time of day, there are other things teens can do to manage their ADHD. These include incorporating a holistic food diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting outdoors, and practicing mindful meditation. If a teen needs an immersive experience to learn these tactics first-hand from professionals, wilderness therapy program may be exactly what they need. The advantage of the wilderness setting is that it offers a constant change of scenery and the opportunity to re-group and re-focus when needed. Tired after a long day’s journey, wilderness therapy also helps teens to sleep easier—another key ingredient in managing ADHD.
A Cohesive Strategy
Whether taken on its own, or in conjunction with other ADHD management strategies, medication needs to be used properly in order for it to be a successful treatment. Simply taking a pill here and there won’t help. Medication needs to be taken in the correct dose and at the correct time of day for full effectiveness.
Other more long term strategies including exercise and exploring the outdoors through wilderness therapy should be considered for any child with ADHD in addition to medication. To learn more about wilderness therapy, or the programs we offer, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.