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What to Know About Mental Health Doctors

Many patients who deal with mental health concerns take the necessary step of contacting a mental health professional. For patients who attend therapy, they know their therapist cannot prescribe mental health medication. This can be a real concern if the patient would like a prescription for medication. So, many people turn to mental health doctors for help.

What are Mental Health Doctors?

A mental health doctor is a medical doctor who went through years of training in medical school. To achieve the title “doctor,” you must go through many years of college, at least three years of residency, and additional school for specialties. With that being said, there is no official title for a mental health doctor. But, some doctors, such as a family medicine doctor, can specialize in mental health. This is a medical concern that is a top priority for many doctors, despite their title. So, you can go to several different types of doctors to get this treatment.

Which Doctors are Considered Mental Health Doctors?

The term “mental health doctor” is an umbrella term that includes many different types of doctors.  Although any doctor who focuses on improving their patients’ mental health can call themselves a mental health doctor, this is not their professional title. However, there are some common specialties among mental health doctors. Some of these specialties are psychiatrists, family practitioners, psychopharmacologists, and others. However, keep in mind that no matter the doctor you go to, if they have a doctorate in medicine, they can prescribe you medication.

Which Doctor To See For Treatment

The truth is, you can go to whichever doctor you feel most comfortable with. Many people prefer to discuss their concerns with their long-term family medicine doctors. For patients who enjoy having a long history with their doctor, this can make them feel more comfortable. There are actually some benefits to seeing your family medicine doctor, as they know you and your family history well. With that being said, don’t feel tied down to a specific doctor. You have the choice between seeing a familiar doctor, or a doctor who specializes in mental health treatment.

Another thing to consider is which doctor is most convenient to your location. When dealing with mental health difficulties, it can be overwhelming to travel for a doctor. For many people, the only way to see a specialist is to drive to the closest large city. This can be a problem, especially if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, or just a busy schedule. So, keep this in mind when deciding which doctor to see.

Why Is Medication Necessary?

Did your counselor or therapist recommend getting a prescription for medication? This is a common avenue for people who are struggling with mental health concerns. Although traditional therapy methods are incredibly effective thanks to years of research, sometimes additional help is necessary.  Thankfully, there are hundreds of medications that can alleviate symptoms from mental health disorders. Below, you can read about several medication classifications that are used to improve mental health and functions.

Mental health doctors

SSRIs and Antidepressants

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, your mental health doctor will likely prescribe you an SSRI. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the amount of serotonin the brain absorbs. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between cells and nerves. A low amount of serotonin can cause a low or anxious mood. The additional serotonin can help decrease feelings of depression or anxiety.

Both depression and anxiety can be incredibly difficult to overcome and are sometimes considered chronic. So, medication can be incredibly helpful to assist in coping. But, SSRIs do require a prescription, which means you need to see mental health doctors to get them.


Those with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other symptoms of psychosis, usually get a prescription for antipsychotics. These drugs help keep brain activity at a normal level so the patient does not experience symptoms. Although antipsychotics do not cure these mental disorders, they do alleviate symptoms. This can help the patient realize what is real, rather than a hallucination.


People get a prescription for stimulants when they receive a diagnosis of ADHD, ADD, Aspergers, and even excessive sleepiness. These drugs stimulate the brain to improve cognitive ability and focus. There are many regulations on stimulants, so you must get a prescription from a doctor for them.

Looking For Mental Health Doctors in Pensacola?

Even if you don’t have any of the conditions above, a mental health doctor can still help you. If you are in the Pensacola, Florida area, please consider visiting our clinic. Our staff of medical doctors specializes in mental health treatment. We can sit down and talk about your thoughts, feeling, and behaviors. Then, we will discuss medication options with you. Feel free to contact us today to schedule an appointment!