The Problem with Psycho-Pharmacology

A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor who specializes in disease of the mind (not brain, that’s a neurologist). A psychologist is a non-medical health-care professional who has taken a master;s degree or doctorate in psychology and treats people using interaction (therapy). A psychiatrist usually prescribes psychotropic medication (Psychoactive medications used to change, modify, or alter an individual’s behavior or mood), whereas the psychologist uses therapy to treat mental disorders. While there are plenty of patients out there who do so well on meds that they don't need therapy, the majority of patients do best with both meds and therapy. But psychiatrists rarely provide the full package of treatment, because they are trapped in a system of incentives that discourage integrative care. I endorse psychologists prescribing, and here's why: it would be the single best thing that could happen to the mental health field.
With the increased scientific knowledge of the mind resulting with a huge jump in the number of mental health cases, we need more people on the front lines combating the increase of mental diseases if we are ever to begin to win this war. In any given year, more than a quarter of U.S. adults have a diagnosable mental health problem – from depression to bipolar disorder – yet fewer than half get any kind of treatment for it. The figures are similar for children (Andrews, "Psychologist seek authority to prescribe psychotropic medications") Part of the reason people go without care is that it can be tough to get an appointment with a mental health expert. Psychiatrists, in particular, are in short supply, especially in rural areas. Psychologist with prescribing rights can reduce the increasing amount of mental health cases going untreated today, and make it more accessible.
Some people feel psychologists do not have the medical background necessary to safely prescribe mental health medic…

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