There is an array of different types of mental health practitioners that provide treatment services to patients or clients. This raises the question as to what types of mental health practitioners are legally permitted to prescribe medication. There is only a limited set of mental health practitioners who legally are able to prescribe medications.
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In all 50 U.S. states, psychiatrists are legally able to prescribe medication to patients with mental health conditions of issues. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has the ability to prescribe medications because such a professional completed medical school and is licensed as a physician.
Licensed Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners
In some states, there are mental health care practitioners known as licensed psychiatric nurse practitioners. In these jurisdictions, a person licensed as a licensed psychiatric nurse practitioner is able to prescribe medications to patients.
Primary Care Physician
Although not specifically focused on treating patients with mental health conditions, in theory, a primary care physician is able to prescribe medications to patients afflicted with some type of mental health condition. In a good many instances a person with a mental health condition first approaches his or her primary care physician for interim assistance. For example, a person may go to his or her primary care doctor for a referral to a mental health practitioner. While waiting for a mental health practitioner to take on a particular case, a primary care physician may prescribe medication to address immediate issues being experienced by a patient.
In addition, a physician’s assistant typically can prescribe medication as well to a person with a mental health condition. A physician’s assistant works under the supervision of a medical doctor. A physician assistant is likely to be involved in the case of a person with a mental health issue early on and before such a patient has been connected with a mental health practitioner.
Oftentimes a person with a mental health condition seeks treatment from a practitioner like a psychotherapist or counselor of some type. A professional of this nature doesn’t have the ability to prescribe medications. While something like cognitive therapy may be a centerpiece of mental health treatment, that course of assistance may not be enough to treat a person with a mental health condition.
For this reason, a cooperative, comprehensive approach to treatment becomes necessary. A person with a mental health condition may access the services of multiple mental health practitioners. For example, a person with a mental health condition may have a therapist or counselor for talk therapy and a psychiatrist for med management. Through this cooperative, comprehensive approach to treatment, an individual with a mental health condition is placed in the best position for positive therapeutic and medical results. Mental Health America further discusses the differences among mental health professionals.
There are clinical practices that maintain different types of mental health practitioners in their teams. By taking this type of approach, a person with a mental health condition is able to access a comprehensive array of treatment services at one location. Complicated referrals become unnecessary. In addition, this type of arrangement typically proves more economical as well for a person with a mental health condition.