Who Can Prescribe Medication for Mental Health? Can Nurse Practitioners Prescribe Psychiatric Medication

Who can prescribe medication for mental health Can a psychiatrist prescribe medication

It is not uncommon for millions of Americans to benefit from mental health medications but it takes a lot of information and research for prescribing mental health medications and should not be used without proper prescription from a professional. This is why when patients contact mental health professionals, they lack an understanding of who can prescribe them medication and who cannot. Thinking can nurse practitioners prescribe psychiatric medication?

For those who want to figure out whom to talk to during a mental disorder about prescribing psychiatric medication, the discussion below will help them maximize their recovery chances.

What type of healthcare professionals can prescribe mental health medications?

Mental health medications are specifically called psychotropic medications. However, not every mental healthcare professional is allowed to prescribe these psychotropic medications or any other drug concerning mental health. Although, there are three types of mental health professionals who are responsible to treat and diagnose mental health issues along with proper medication;


Psychiatrists are medical health professionals and are medically licensed doctors to diagnose mental illness and prescribe medications. They are trained in psychiatry; this is why they are eligible to offer therapy.

National Alliance on Mental Illness illustrates that to become a psychiatrist a student must earn a degree in Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Also, they should complete psychiatry home training.

Physician Assistant

A physician assistant is also referred to as a physician associate. He is a mid-level professional in healthcare. Although, to become an associate they don’t have to undergo a range of certifications and degrees that a physician needs, they are still able to do many similar tasks as physicians. These tasks include developing treatment plans, diagnosing illness, and prescribing medications.

What type of healthcare professionals can prescribe mental health medications

A physician assistant must accrue 1000 hours of experience working and need a bachelor’s degree in the relevant medical field. In addition, they must clear the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam and take the physician assistant program.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Can nurse practitioners prescribe psychiatric medication? The answer is yes, in many cases. Nurse practitioners are highly skilled healthcare professionals who are capable of diagnosing and treating various medical conditions, including mental health disorders. Depending on the state, nurse practitioners may be authorized to prescribe psychiatric medications, although some restrictions may apply. In some cases, nurse practitioners may need to complete additional training or certification to prescribe psychiatric medication, and the specific regulations surrounding this practice may vary by state. It’s important to check with local licensing boards or professional associations to ensure that nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe psychiatric medication in your state.

Can a therapist prescribe medication?

If a therapist has any of the above-mentioned titles, only then he will be allowed to prescribe medications to a patient suffering from mental health. In Arkansas, according to Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas, a social health worker, and a mental health counselor are not allowed to suggest or prescribe medication.

If during providing therapy, therapists think that a patient can benefit from prescribed medications more, then they can suggest them to another clinician who does have the proper qualification to suggest or prescribe medication.

Can you communicate with these professionals easily?

It is a must to consider that you communicate with your psychiatrist effectively and easily. From the first communication, make sure you explain everything to your psychiatrist. If due to any reason you are unable to describe your mental health condition, ensure that you take someone close to explain your mental history.

Make sure that you feel comfortable while speaking to your psychiatrist. It is an integral part of an effective and complete treatment. Seek a psychiatrist that is knowledgeable and easy to reach in case of emergencies. They must keep your conditions and information confidential and should not judge your feelings. Unless he has to inform higher authorities in compliance with a legal obligation.

What are the expected fees of mental health professionals?

If you are insured, it is essential to learn if mental health professionals accept insurance or not. This is because to receive insurance reimbursements, medical professionals need to be credentialed with the insurance company and claim the services they provided.

In case, your psychiatrist does not accept insurance, you will be financially responsible to pay your bills. So, make sure you’re properly informed with the essential information to shun the chances of any last moment surprises.

When you are insured, make sure to take all the required documents from the practitioner for reimbursements of claims.

How to know what’s psychiatrist’s approach?

Along with much other information to gather before you opt for a psychiatrist, it is also important to know the psychiatric approach to dealing with patients. It is also necessary to know how often do they prescribe/change medication and how frequently do you have to meet them in person weekly or monthly.

Can a therapist prescribe medication

This information varies from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, make sure to look for everything before you seek a professional’s health. Many times, psychiatrists ask if your medications are working, that’s all. And many others ask about your therapy and treatments and are interested in asking if you need anything else as well.

Several psychiatrists are there who also practice psychotherapy which eliminates the need for a therapist. It’s essential to know what type of psychiatrist you need before you fix your first appointment.

Is it easy to schedule appointments with psychiatrists?

When you first make a call to a psychiatrist, make sure to take all the information about the scheduling procedure and appointment timings. Many times, psychiatrists take the appointments and leave the patients on the waiting list giving them the next appointment date as they overbook.

This happens when a psychiatrist works for 9 hours a day and books for more than 8 patients, then he is definitely overbooking and going to reschedule the appointments for the remaining patients the other day.

There’s a cancellation schedule, which varies from office to office and you must need to ask about it as well. Some psychiatrists need a 24-hour prior notice for appointment cancellation and some need 48-hour notice, or some don’t need any. Those who require prior cancellation information may also charge you for appointment cancellation. This is because you need to find out the policy in the first place.

If you are searching for a psychiatrist, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask before you make an appointment with your preferred psychiatrist. With this, be sure that you find the right psychiatrist for your mental health issues. Here is the list;

  • Do I have to wait even if I reach at the time of the appointment? Please share if there’s a waiting list.
  • Do you offer appointments for the same day?
  • Is there any possibility of evening/morning/weekend appointments?
  • What are your charges?
  • Do you also offer psychotherapy?
  • Are you accepting insurance?
  • What type of insurance do you accept?
  • Do you offer assistance in filing claims (if insurance is not accepted)?
  • Is there any cancellation policy?

The Bottom Line

Psychotropic medications, which are used to treat mental health disorders, can be prescribed by psychiatrists, physician assistants, and psychiatric nurse practitioners. A therapist can only prescribe medication if they hold one of the aforementioned titles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for psychotropic medications to work?

It can take several weeks to notice an improvement in symptoms after starting a psychotropic medication. The amount of time it takes for the medication to work may vary depending on the individual and the specific medication.

What are the side effects of psychotropic medications?

Common side effects of psychotropic medications may include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. Some medications may also cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, or other more serious side effects.

Can psychotropic medications be addictive?

Some psychotropic medications have the potential to be addictive, especially those that affect the levels of dopamine in the brain. However, when used as directed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, the risk of addiction is low.

Can psychotropic medications be taken during pregnancy?

Some psychotropic medications may be safe to take during pregnancy, while others may pose a risk to the developing fetus. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss the risks and benefits of taking psychotropic medications with their healthcare provider.

How long should someone take psychotropic medications?

The length of time someone should take a psychotropic medication depends on the individual and the specific medication. In some cases, medications may be prescribed for a short period of time to alleviate acute symptoms, while in other cases they may be used long-term to manage chronic conditions.