Thursday, October 31, 2013
PCPs prescribing psychotropic drugs
How safe is it for primary care providers (PCPs) to prescribe psychotropic drugs? Patients generally visit their PCPs first in regards to mental health issues. When the issues are within the scope of the PCP's practice, medications might be prescribed, and the outcomes are favorable. However, when the mental health issue is more complex, the PCP may not have the necessary training to properly assess and address the patient's issue(s). Time constrictions may also present challenges for the PCP.
Considering how much symptom overlap exists in the world of behavioral health, an accurate diagnosis could be difficult to attain; furthermore, a wrong or delayed diagnosis could lead to adverse outcomes. Even the most skilled psychiatric provider may find it difficult to diagnose a patient depending on their symptoms. Thus, mental health issues should not be taken lightly. Consultation or referral to a mental health professional should take place when indicated so that a full, thorough assessment can be made, especially prior to taking medications.