One of the common questions that people ask when they are considering seeing a psychologist is whether or not the psychologist can prescribe medication. The answer to this question is no – psychologists can’t prescribe medication. In this blog post, we will discuss what psychologists do versus psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
If you are considering seeing a psychologist, it is important to understand that what they do. Psychologists are trained in how to diagnose and treat mental illness. They provide the support and guidance you need. However, if you specifically need medications, you have to see a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. At the Ardent Center we have experienced psychologists and also psychiatric nurse practitioners.
If psychologists can’t prescribe medications, what can they do?
Many mental health conditions can benefit from psychotherapy – talk therapy – which psychologists are skilled in. Or you could talk to a counselor, marriage and family therapist or clinical social worker about it as they have similar skills to a psychologist. But all mental health providers can vary in terms of their specializations. For example, some are skilled in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) which is useful for conditions such as anxiety and depression. Others use exposure therapy which is useful for phobias such as a fear of snakes.
Medications do have a number of side-effects, so it is sometimes best to try therapy first depending on the condition. However, if you have major depression or bipolar disorder or psychosis, medications help stabilize the condition first so that therapy can be more effective. If you are having sleep troubles, it is a good idea to speak to a psychologist about it. They can help you refine your sleep hygiene and often this can have a huge impact. You might like to try this before asking a psychiatrist for sleeping pills.
Some psychologists also do couples counseling. Generally they have more experience with this than psychiatrists do. They may also be skilled in family therapy, so you can bring your whole family to see them and resolve any disputes and differences that may be causing friction in the house.
So rather than asking “can a psychologist prescribe medication”, it is better to ask which specific specialties does this psychologist have and do these match my needs. If you have any questions about which of our providers would be best for you to see, please call us on 8888701775 and discuss it with us or send us a message via our contact form.