What can psychiatrists prescribe

What Can a Psychiatrist Prescribe Online?

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[Image description: A woman is having a telehealth visit with her psychiatrist.]

If you’re planning to see a psychiatrist online, you might be wondering what types of medications they can prescribe. Whether you’ve previously seen a psychiatrist or this is your first visit, your psychiatrist will work with you to understand your needs and develop the right treatment plan, which may include medication.

While psychiatrists on LiveHealth Online can provide many prescriptions, they cannot prescribe controlled substances.

What are controlled substances?

These medications can be an effective treatment for conditions including anxiety, ADHD, chronic pain and insomnia, but they are tightly regulated by the federal government because of their potential for abuse.

Common controlled substances include:

  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax®, Ativan®, Valium®, Klonopin, Restoril, Librium)
  • Sedative hypnotics (Lunesta®, Ambien®, Sonata)
  • Opioids (Methadose, Suboxone)
  • Stimulants (Adderall®, Ritalin®, Vyvanse®, Dextroamphetamine, Dexedrine, Methylphenidate, Concerta®, Focalin, Provigil, Nuvigil)

If you’re currently taking prescription medication for a mental health condition, it’s a good idea to determine if it is a controlled substance before your telehealth appointment.  You can view a comprehensive list here. You’ll need to see a doctor in person if:

  • A psychiatrist on LiveHealth Online recommends you take a controlled substance as part of your treatment plan.
  •  You need a refill of an existing prescription that is a controlled substance.

Psychiatrists prescribe other medications online

Psychiatrists on LiveHealth Online can prescribe many other types of prescription medication to the pharmacy of your choice.

These include:

  • Antidepressants (Prozac®, Celexa®, Cymbalta®, Wellbutrin®, Trazodone®, Effexor®, Tofranil, Seroxat, Anafranil, Doxepin, Favarin, Lustral®, Strattera®, Lexapro®)
  • Antipsychotics (Azona®)
  • Bipolar disorder agents (Lithium)
  • Narcotics (Avanza)
  • Opiate antagonists (Naloxone)
  • Anticonvulsants (Lamictal)

Medication management

After your initial evaluation, psychiatrists on LiveHealth Online can provide ongoing care and medication management for many mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

You can schedule follow-up appointments with the same psychiatrist for help with medication management from the comfort and privacy of home.  If you need additional support, you can talk to a licensed therapist or psychologist through LiveHealth Online Psychology.


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Types of Mental Health Professionals

Which mental health professional is right for me?  There are many types of mental health professionals. Finding the right one for you may require some research. Below is a listing of types of mental health treatment professionals to help you understand the differences between the services they provide.

The following mental health professionals can provide psychological assessments and therapy; however, cannot generally prescribe medications (although some states will allow it):

  • Clinical Psychologist – A psychologist with a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited/designated program in psychology.   Psychologists are trained to make diagnoses and provide individual and group therapy. 
  • School Psychologist – A psychologist with an advanced degree in psychology from an accredited/designated program in School Psychology.  School Psychologists are trained to make diagnoses, provide individual and group therapy, and work with school staff to maximize efficiency in the schools setting.

The following mental health professionals can provide counseling and with proper training, assessments; however, cannot prescribe medication:

  • Clinical Social Worker – A counselor with a master's degree in social work from an accredited graduate program. Trained to make diagnoses, provide individual and group counseling, and provide case management and advocacy; usually found in the hospital setting.
  • Licensed Professional Counselor – A counselor with a master's degree in psychology, counseling or a related field. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Mental Health Counselor – A counselor with a master's degree and several years of supervised clinical work experience. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor – Counselor with specific clinical training in alcohol and drug abuse. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Nurse Psychotherapist –  registered nurse who is trained in the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Marital and Family Therapist – counselor with a master's degree, with special education and training in marital and family therapy. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Pastoral Counselor – clergy with training in clinical pastoral education. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Peer Specialist – counselor with lived experience with mental health or substance use conditions.  Assists clients with recovery by recognizing and developing strengths, and setting goals.  Many peer support programs require several hours of training.
  • Other Therapists – therapist with an advance degree trained in specialized forms of therapy.  Examples include art therapist, music therapist.

The following mental health professionals can prescribe medication; however, they may not provide therapy:

  • Psychiatrist – A medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses.  A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, but they often do not counsel patients.
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist – A medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and behavioral problems in children.   Child and Adolescent psychiatrists can also prescribe medication; however, they may not provide psychotherapy.
  • Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – A registered nurse practitioner with a graduate degree and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illness. 

Additionally, your Primary Care Physician, Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner (depending on your state) are often qualified to provide medication. 

You've Made the Call to the Mental Health Professional. Now What?

Spend a few minutes talking with him or her on the phone, ask about their approach to working with patients, their philosophy, whether or not they have a specialty or concentration (some psychologists for instance specialize in family counseling, or child counseling, while others specialize in divorce or coping with the loss of a loved one.) If you feel comfortable talking to the counselor or doctor, the next step is to make an appointment.

On your first visit, the counselor or the doctor will want to get to know you and why you called him or her. The counselor will want to know-- what you think the problem is, about your life, what you do, where you live, with whom you live. It is also common to be asked about your family and friends. This information helps the professional to assess your situation and develop a plan for treatment.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the professional after the first, or even several visits, talk about your feelings at your next meeting; don’t be afraid to contact another counselor. Feeling comfortable with the professional you choose is very important to the success of your treatment.

Psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist - when and to whom to go?

We usually know that a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist are different specialists. But to say how they differ from each other, and even more so to determine who to contact with this or that ailment, is already much more difficult. Sometimes it seems that all these specialists are doing the same thing, but it turns out that there are differences, and they are significant.

How do psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists differ from each other and who can help if you have mental problems, panic attacks, relationship difficulties, phobias, fears or depression? nine0005


What do psychologists do? Psychology is a science that studies the behavior, thoughts, feelings and motivations of people. Among the problems that psychologists work with are the psychological development of children, the work of the mind, memorization, relationships in the family or team.

Important: psychologists are not doctors. They do not treat anything, do not recommend methods of treatment and do not prescribe drugs. Psychologists help to find a way out of problem situations, calm down, understand and accept yourself. nine0003

With what problems should I go to a psychologist? A psychologist will help if:

  • you have experienced a catastrophe, natural disaster or serious injury and cannot stop thinking about it;

  • you are going through the loss of a loved one or serious illness of your relatives;

  • worried about problems in the family: difficulties in relationships with a partner or conflicts with children;

  • you have a creative or career crisis, problems at work or at school; nine0003

  • you have found yourself in a difficult life situation - divorced, became a single mother, lost your job, ended up in a hospital.

How do psychologists work? During the reception, psychologists most often talk - ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Less commonly, turn on music, show pictures or play - such methods help the psychologist to understand the client, and the client to be distracted and relaxed.


What do psychiatrists do? nine0012 Psychiatrists study, prevent and treat mental health problems. To do this, they must have a special qualification in the field of psychiatry.

Unlike psychologists, all psychiatrists are doctors. They prescribe drugs (including potent drugs), make decisions about hospitalization (including involuntary if a person is a danger to himself or others), and decide whether a person is capable or not.

With what problems should I go to a psychiatrist? nine0012 With serious ones - so much so that they often do not come to a psychiatrist, but end up. For example, if a patient suffers from:

  • various addictions - from drugs, alcohol, games or drugs that affect the mind and body;

  • for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, hallucinations or severe depression with suicidal tendencies;

  • dementia (dementia due to old age, serious illness, injury or alcoholism), delirium tremens (delirious tremens and related conditions) or encephalopathy (brain damage) affecting the psyche; nine0003

  • and hears voices, sees people, animals, communicates with aliens, considers himself a "new messiah", "avatar" or Napoleon.

How do psychiatrists work? Psychiatrists diagnose mental disorders, pay attention to chemical imbalances in the brain, prescribe tests and additional examinations (MRI, X-ray, CT, etc.). They assess both the mental and physical effects of the disorder and interact with other physicians. nine0003


What do psychotherapists do? Psychotherapists help with stress, emotional swings, relationship problems, or bad habits. They also treat depression, mania and panic attacks.

The field of activity of psychotherapists is between psychology and psychiatry. Unlike psychologists, psychotherapists are doctors and can treat mental disorders such as depression, mania, or panic attacks. But unlike psychiatrists, psychotherapists do not prescribe drugs, much less send them to the hospital. nine0003

With what problems should I go to a psychotherapist? If you can't get rid of some uncomfortable feeling for a long time and you are sure that your condition is not normal, you may need to see a psychotherapist. What else will indicate this:

  • constant apathy, lack of desire to work, take care of the house or family - you want to lie down or sit all the time;

  • feeling that someone is controlling you, you are being persecuted, your loved ones are conspiring against you; nine0003

  • outbursts of aggression, sudden changes in emotions - from tears to hysterical laughter;

  • obsessive feeling that you have an incurable disease and no one can help;

  • the appearance of addictions - from drinking or certain drugs.

How do psychotherapists work? If your psychotherapist is a psychiatrist with a specialization in psychotherapy, you will have an interview during your appointment, after which you may be prescribed medication. If a psychotherapist is a trained psychologist who has been trained in psychotherapy, he will not be able to prescribe prescription medications. nine0003

Where to look for good psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists?

Psychologists. A lot of pages of a psychologist with different regalia can be found by googling or searching social networks. The main thing is not to look at the reviews and the number of subscribers, but at the diploma, qualifications and experience. A good psychologist must have a specialized university diploma and data on retraining if he is a psychologist of a narrow profile.

To minimize risks, choose a specialist from a specialized center - they are municipal, private and social - or clinics. nine0003

Psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Everything is stricter with them than with psychologists. Both the psychiatrist and the psychotherapist are doctors. They must have diplomas and certificates of specialists, and the clinic in which they practice must have the appropriate license - psychiatry-narcology or psychotherapy. If it is a private office, it must also have a license.

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Psychiatrist - who is it and what does it treat? When to contact a psychiatrist? How to prepare for a visit to a doctor at the MEDSI Clinic

A psychiatrist is a specialist with a medical background who deals with the treatment of mental disorders (a group of symptoms and behavioral changes that cause mental suffering and are caused by a violation of the psyche). Such professionals are approached by people who are either aware of their condition as a violation, or feel completely healthy. Psychiatrists are also involved in the treatment of severe pathologies that are dangerous not only for the patient himself, but also for those around him. Therapy is carried out with the use of drugs. An appointment with a psychiatrist should be made when the first signs of pathology are detected. The effectiveness of therapy in this case will be as high as possible. nine0003

Types of doctors

There are the following specializations of psychiatrists:

  • Narcologists. Such doctors treat patients with substance abuse, drug addiction and alcoholism
  • Epileptologists. Such psychiatrists treat epilepsy
  • Gerontologists. These specialists deal with all mental disorders of elderly patients
  • Children and teenagers. Such doctors deal with disorders (autism, etc.) in children and adolescents
  • Criminologists. These doctors are studying the mental state of criminals
  • Somnologists. These specialists deal with the treatment of disorders manifested in sleep disorders
  • Suicidologists. These specialists work with patients suffering from suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies

What organs does a psychiatrist deal with?

Psychiatrists study the psyche, identify its disorders and prevent pathologies. nine0003

The doctor's duties include:

  • Identification of persons with mental disabilities
  • Accurate diagnosis of disorder
  • Determination of the causes that provoked deviations
  • Prescribing necessary treatment
  • Case management and rehabilitation
  • Conducting medical examinations
  • Carrying out preventive examinations
  • Hospitalization (including involuntary) of patients with severe disorders
  • Identification of healthy individuals (including those imitating the presence of various mental pathologies in them)

What does a doctor treat?

Psychiatrists treat psychiatric disorders such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia
  • Psychosis
  • Neuroses
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
  • nine0025 Autism
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cyclotomy
  • Manic-depressive syndrome, etc.

Doctors treat both independent pathologies and those that occur against the background of the following diseases:

  • Drug and substance abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Infectious diseases
  • Vascular pathologies of the brain
  • Somatic diseases
  • Brain tumors
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Intoxication with industrial poisons and drugs

When should I see a doctor?

Individuals who suffer from:

  • Drowsiness during the day and/or sleep disturbances at night
  • Constant feeling of anxiety without objective reasons
  • Complete lack of appetite or persistent hunger
  • Inability to concentrate on even simple tasks
  • Memory disorders (up to its complete loss)
  • Complete apathy
  • Attacks of aggression
  • Panic states
  • Unreasonable resentment
  • Fear and other uncontrollable conditions

Unfortunately, some mental disorders do not allow the patient to objectively assess the situation. The person does not want to see a doctor. In this case, close people should persuade the patient, convince him of the need to receive medical care. nine0003

It is important to make an appointment with a psychiatrist if a person is found to have:

  • Delusional ideas
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicide attempts
  • Frequent attacks of aggression
  • Disorientation in space
  • Missing memory, etc.

You should take your child to a specialist if:

  • Rough behavior
  • Difficulties in remembering information and concentrating
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Complete lack of appetite or constant overeating
  • Addictions of any kind
  • Excessive focus on appearance (weight, figure, claims to structural features of the nose, ears, etc.)

A preventive appointment with a psychiatrist is mandatory for:

  • Registering a child for kindergarten and school
  • Passing the military medical board
  • Obtaining driving licenses/permits, carrying weapons, etc.
  • Hazardous Workplace

Consultation steps

The psychiatric appointment is carried out in stages.

The consultation includes:

  • Poll. It is carried out in order to clarify the patient's complaints and the symptoms that concern him. If it is impossible to interview the patient himself, the doctor talks with his relatives
  • nine0025 Testing
  • Additional diagnostics (if required)
  • Choice of therapy strategy and conditions (inpatient or outpatient treatment)

Examination and treatment are carried out, if necessary, on conditions of absolute anonymity and confidentiality.

Important! Only those patients who are socially dangerous are forcibly placed for treatment in a hospital. An examination is required beforehand. nine0003


All diagnoses by psychiatrists are based on the overall clinical picture and test results.

Additionally, the thyroid gland, pituitary gland and adrenal glands are examined.

Neurophysiological diagnostics includes: