psychologist vs. psychiatrist???

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 5/7/2008 9:35 PM (GMT -6)   
My insurance plan changed May 1st and now I am going nuts trying to find a new doc. I didn't pick the one I've been seeing and while I am fine with her, she's not on my plan. I can see her but I'd have to pay the full amount for the visit, verses a reasonable copay for in-network docs. I need somebody who isn't all about the drugs, yet can still prescribe them. I've only just started the drugs. I can't think of a worse time for this to happen. confused Drugs are good but I feel that I need more. There are very few mental health providers where I live that are on my plan. I've found one psychiatrist that's on my plan but I haven't heard back if she'll let me see her. And even if I can, I have to get the visit authorized by my insurance first. I only have 2 weeks of medication left. (If the side effects from going off the drugs are anything like the ones I had going on them, I don't want to stop. That and my friend/pastor would probably haul me off to the hospital if I stopped the medication. :-) )

My question is, if I can't see her, what type of doctor should I look for, psychologist or psychiatrist??? This is all so new for me!?! sad I'm trying not to panic, but it's so frustrating dealing with all this. It's even affecting my work as this is all I can think about. If I could just get everything set up I'd be fine.


getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
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   Posted 5/7/2008 10:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you explained your situation to your present psychiatrist? She could write you a prescription and they would fill it even if she is out of network. At least that would get you by until you hook up with a new one.

Psycologist can't prescribe meds, but they often can help you find somebody who can. They usually just do therapy. But you could get an md to prescribe if you have one or your family doctor and see a psycologist for the therapy. So you still have some options left.

Hope this helps
hugs, Karen
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 870
   Posted 5/8/2008 8:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I know that psychologists cannot write scripts for you.  Depending on how severe your depression is will determine what speciality is right for you.  With my depression I have a psychiatrist and therapist.  Actually a licenced therapist is just like a psychologist without all the years of schooling for doctrine.
Another good source that may help you is NAMI, they are the organization for mental illness.  Try that.

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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 5/8/2008 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi there,

As Karen and Teresa have both said... Psychologists cannot prescribe. Thats not to say that you shouldnt see one though. As a general rule of thumb: Psychiatrists take people apart and decide what the problem is & Psychologists put people back together and fix the problem. Neither can function fully without the other. Usually though a psychologist can get someone else to prescrible for them (At least thats how it works in the UK)


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Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 5/9/2008 6:16 AM (GMT -6)   

Dont ya just love HMO's?

As everyone has said already, typically psychiatrist's dont "counsel".  They normally will get a person started within counseling or whatever and start them on medication maitance if needed but then oversee that for the duration.  Any further visits with a psychiatrist would be 15-20 minutes in length and just really basic questions on how your doing.  What you may want to look into is finding a private mental health group or doctors that are in private practice.  Usually, there will be a few Psychiatrist's overseeing the group followed by your Psychologist's then perhaps some Counselors.  If the psychiatist is in-network by your insurance then hopefully one of the psychologist or counselors will be also so you may also see them on a regular basis.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/9/2008 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
As much I hated HMO's it costs a lot to be on a deductable plan. We pay 30% of my 200 doctor (weekly) visits. And our drug coverage only covers half of what I take. They "covered" Risperdal last week at $60 out of pocket for us. We pay the full $150 for Vyvanse. These are only two of the meds I take. They do cover all generics however!


Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 5/9/2008 3:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I got an appointment with the new doc in a week. Found out that I don't have to get approval to see her as she is an MD. If I went to a psychologist I'd have to get approval. I do think I may look into finding a therapist, especially if all I get out of a psychiatrist is medication.

I'm on a PPO plan not a HMO, thank God! :-) It's just the mental heath stuff that we have to pre-approval for.

I'm doing a little better as this is sorted out. But I've just gone to 20mg of Lexapro and that's messing me up.

Thanks for your support.
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