Mental Health Medication Who, What, When, Where, How
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Mental Health Medication Who, What, When, Where, How

Like physical health, mental health is an essential component of our entire well-being and has to be treated with care. Medication for mental health issues might occasionally become essential to treating different diseases. Through this article, we aim to provide a thorough overview of mental health medications, covering topics like who can prescribe them, what conditions they typically treat, when to think about them, where to find a prescriber, and how to discuss possible modifications to your medication with your doctor.



Table Of Contents

Who Can Prescribe Mental Health Medications?

What Common Mental Health Issues Are Treated With Medication?

When Do I Know If I Should Consider Mental Health Medications?

Where Do I Go to Find A Prescriber?

How Do I Tell My Doctor If I Think I Need A Medication Change?

After Thoughts




Who Can Prescribe Mental Health Medications?


Often, the first thing that crosses people’s minds is who has the power to prescribe drugs for mental health issues. Psychiatric nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and family physicians are among the licensed professionals who can prescribe mental health medications. In certain situations, general practitioners may also fill this role. While psychologists are trained in psychology and therapy but are not permitted to provide medicine, psychiatrists are medical specialists who specialize in mental health (American Psychological Association, 2017).


According to your particular demands, it is imperative that you speak with the right healthcare provider. Psychiatrists are frequently the principal prescribers for more severe and complex mental health problems. Psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychologists, however, are also qualified to administer drugs, particularly for prevalent mental health conditions.




Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich


What Common Mental Health Issues Are Treated With Medication?


Several conditions are treated using medications. Among the most frequently encountered issues are:


Depression: Antidepressants help regulate neurotransmitters in the brain and are frequently administered to treat symptoms of depression (Chand & Arif, 2024; Lewinsohn et al., 2000).


Anxiety Disorders or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): To treat anxiety disorders, doctors may prescribe drugs like benzodiazepines or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Chand & Marwaha, 2023; Munir & Takov, 2024).


Bipolar Disorder: Mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs are frequently used to control bipolar disorder symptoms and mood swings (Jain & Mitra, 2023).


Schizophrenia: Antipsychotic drugs, which target neurotransmitters, are essential in the treatment of schizophrenia symptoms (Hany et al., 2024).


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): To treat the symptoms of ADHD, doctors may give non-stimulant alternatives or stimulant drugs like Adderall (Magnus et al., 2023).




When Do I Know If I Should Consider Mental Health Medications?


Deciding to think about using mental health drugs is a very private and particular experience. Medication may be helpful in the following situations:


Severity of Symptoms: Medication may be taken into consideration if symptoms have a major influence on day-to-day functioning, such as the capacity to work, learn, or maintain relationships.


Duration of Symptoms: Medication could be a helpful addition to the treatment strategy if symptoms last for a long time despite other therapy approaches.


Functional Impairment: Medication may be necessary when mental health problems cause a substantial functional impairment that interferes with daily activities such as going to social events, taking care of oneself, and completing work or educational obligations.


Risk of Harm: When a person poses a risk of harming themselves or others, medication can be extremely important in stabilizing the person and averting additional damage.


Failure of Non-Medication Interventions: Medication may be explored if other measures, such as therapy or lifestyle modifications, have not produced enough improvement.




Where Do I Go To Find A Prescriber?


One of the most important steps in the process is finding an accredited prescriber for mental health drugs. Consider looking into the following options:


Primary Care Physician (PCP): A good place to start is with your primary care physician or family doctor. For less severe mental health conditions, they can evaluate your symptoms, make a preliminary diagnosis, and possibly recommend common drugs.


Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are medical professionals with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. They frequently assist people with more complicated mental health concerns and are qualified to administer a broad variety of drugs.



Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners: Specializing in mental health, these advanced practice nurses are capable of diagnosing, treating, and writing prescriptions for drugs. They frequently work with psychiatrists.



Psychologists: Although their primary concentration is on therapy, several states let psychologists who have received specialized training write prescriptions for drugs. This is not typical, though, and it varies geographically.



Community Mental Health Centers: A team of experts, including psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, can evaluate patients and provide medicine at local mental health centers.





How Do I Tell My Doctor If I Think I Need a Medication Change?


For the best possible mental health therapy, you and your healthcare practitioner must communicate effectively. If you think you should switch medications, think about doing the following:


Keep a Symptom Journal: Keep track of your symptoms, how often they occur, and any trends you notice. Your doctor will be able to better comprehend your experience with the use of this information.



Be Honest About Side Effects: Tell your doctor straight up if you’re having side effects or if the medication you’re taking is decreasing your quality of life. They can look for other options.



Discuss Changes in Functioning: Explain any modifications to your day-to-day activities. It is imperative that your doctor is informed if the drug is not yielding the anticipated benefit or if it is posing new difficulties.



Express Concerns: Please feel free to voice any worries or doubts you may have regarding the prescription you are currently taking. Your opinions are important to consider while making decisions.



Collaborate on a Plan: Together with your physician, create a strategy for any medication adjustments. This could entail experimenting with new medications, changing the dosage, or looking into other therapeutic approaches.




After Thoughts


Keep in mind that receiving mental health care is very unique, so what suits one person may not be appropriate for another. To find the appropriate path for you, it’s important to be open with healthcare providers, open to exploring multiple possibilities and actively involved in your mental health journey.


Mental health medication is undoubtedly a tool for empowerment as we work through the concerns of who can prescribe, what issues can be treated when to consider, where to receive support, and how to communicate successfully.








American Psychological Association. (2017). What Is the Difference Between Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Social Workers? Https://Www.Apa.Org.


Chand, S. P., & Arif, H. (2024). Depression. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.


Chand, S. P., & Marwaha, R. (2023). Anxiety. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.


Hany, M., Rehman, B., Azhar, Y., & Chapman, J. (2024). Schizophrenia. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.


Jain, A., & Mitra, P. (2023). Bipolar Disorder. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.


Lewinsohn, P. M., Solomon, A., Seeley, J. R., & Zeiss, A. (2000). Clinical implications of “subthreshold” depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(2), 345–351.


Magnus, W., Nazir, S., Anilkumar, A. C., & Shaban, K. (2023). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.


Munir, S., & Takov, V. (2024). Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.





Written By: Dr. Wasif MD

Edited by: Madison Vargas, BS

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 02/06/2024


Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Madison Vargas

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