Who Can Prescribe Antidepressants?


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Whether it’s starting a new job, caring for a sick parent or dealing with that stack of mail that won’t stop piling up on your desk, it’s totally normal to feel stressed out from time to time. But when you’re dealing with depression, everyday tasks can feel so overwhelming to the point of being debilitating.ç

If this sounds at all relatable, you’re not alone. Nearly 60 million American adults suffer from mental illnesses, such as depressionanxiety and panic disorders.

Fortunately, mental health medications like antidepressants can be very effective, which is why they’re often considered a first-line treatment. They work by targeting certain neurotransmitters in your brain to help regulate your mood and how you respond to stress.

Some of the most commonly used antidepressants include:

The big question is: How do you get antidepressants, anyway? The short answer is: They must be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

While that may sound intimidating, the process of accessing antidepressants is a lot less complicated than you might think. We’ll walk you through who to speak to, what to say to them and other mental health resources you can tap into for support.

(Related: Common Causes of Social Anxiety

Who Can Prescribe Antidepressants?

To get antidepressants, you’ll first need a prescription. Primary care providers (PCPs), psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists are all qualified to prescribe antidepressant medications. 

We’ll dig into the differences below. 

Primary Care Providers

A primary care provider is an excellent first step in getting antidepressants. The benefit of using your own PCP is that you have an established relationship with them. They’ll already have your medical history on record, and since you’ve seen them before, it might be easier to approach them with this topic.

Alternatively, you can also consult with a provider via telehealth primary care. The big plus about virtual appointments is that you don’t have to leave your home, and you can avoid the annoyance of having to sit in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. 

Whether your appointment is online or in-person, your healthcare provider will likely start the conversation by asking about your symptoms and lifestyle habits, like smoking and drinking.

Your provider might bring up these common symptoms of depression

  • Pessimistic, despondent feelings

  • A sad, anxious or “empty” mood

  • Fatigue and lower energy levels

  • Slow speech or movement

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Difficulty focusing, making decisions or remembering things

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed

  • Physical aches and pains

  • Irritability and annoyance

  • Weight gain or loss 

  • Thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Depression also shares similar symptoms with anxiety — which is why healthcare providers often prescribe antidepressants as treatment for anxiety disorders, like social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The important thing to remember is that there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to depression. Some people have severe depression, and other people have mild to moderate depression. Some will need antidepressants for a short time, while others will need them for years.

Your provider will be able to come up with a treatment plan for you based on your specific symptoms while taking other factors into consideration, such as other medications you’re taking.

If you’re still feeling stuck navigating this conversation, our guide on how to ask your doctor for anxiety medication has more tips.


psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in treating mental health disorders, like depression, panic disorder, bipolar disorder or anxiety. They have extensive knowledge in their field and can use their deep expertise to create a plan tailored to your needs.

Psychiatrists can provide prescription medications and offer psychotherapy treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to go with it.

If you think you’d benefit from seeing a mental health professional, the Hers online psychiatry platform can connect you with a licensed provider. For more resources, take a look at our guides to finding a psychiatrist and how to choose a psychiatrist

Whether you see a psychiatrist or a primary care physician, the choice is ultimately up to you. Regardless of who you choose, there’s a strong possibility that in addition to medication, your provider will recommend certain lifestyle adjustments to reduce your symptoms, like exercising or cutting back on substances like alcohol.

Who Can’t Prescribe Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are complex medications (some with more troublesome side effects than others), so it’s a good thing that not just anyone can prescribe them. 

Though they can offer great mental health services, here are a few people who can’t prescribe antidepressants:

Again, your best bet for getting antidepressants is to connect with your primary care physician or find a psychiatrist.

How to Decide on a Healthcare Provider for Antidepressants

Deciding on a healthcare provider might seem hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing is that you speak to someone you feel like you can trust and be transparent with about your symptoms. 

Here are a few questions to consider in the search for a provider: 

  • Have you been treated for mental health before? 

  • How severe are your mental health symptoms? 

  • Do you definitely want to take antidepressants, or are you undecided? 

  • How soon do you want to start taking antidepressants? 

Ultimately, do what feels right for you, and know that you can always change course if needed.

(Related: 5 Ways to Quiet Your Mind)

The Final Word on Antidepressant Prescriptions 

If you feel like your depression is interfering with your life, don’t wait until it gets worse before seeking help. With guidance from a healthcare professional, be it your PCP or a psychiatrist, you can come up with a treatment plan best suited for your needs.  

If you start to feel overwhelmed, remember: 

  • There’s nothing wrong with needing medication. Think of it this way: If you injured your ankle, would you not go to the hospital? When you break a bone, you fix it — not judge yourself for trying to look cool while skiing. When your mental health is struggling, the same mentality applies. There’s no shame in getting the treatment you need.

  • Opening up helps. Whether it’s reaching out to a loved one, exploring psychotherapy or joining anonymous support groups, opening up about your struggles can make you feel less alone while giving you resources for coping. And if you don’t want to get out of bed, online therapy is an A+ option.

  • Practice self-care. Taking care of your needs is pivotal for feeling better. Self-care looks different to everyone, so focus on what makes you feel good, whether it’s hitting the gym, journaling or surrounding yourself with friends you can lean on.

If you need additional support, our online mental health services can provide tools and strategies as you take steps toward getting the help you deserve. 

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

If you’re charging prescriptions to a credit card or digging for change in your car and couch every month to scrounge up enough money to pay for prescriptions, you’re not alone.

Around seven percent of U.S. adults can’t pay for prescription drugs they need, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. That’s an estimated 18 million people who say they had to go without at least one prescribed medication in the last three months, according to the poll.

If you struggle to pay for your meds or even worse, go without necessary medications, here’s some good news. With a bit of research and a strategy for finding discounts, you can save on prescription drugs.


Drug discount cards have been saving consumers money on prescriptions for decades. If your insurance doesn’t cover a prescribed drug or you’re saddled with a high copay, check the price on these drug discount sites to see how much you can save.

  • GoodRX
  • Blink Health
  • SingleCare
  • WellRX

Not up to the research? Ask your pharmacist if they have information on how much you can save with certain prescription discount cards.


Just because you’ve filled your prescriptions at CVS for the last 10 years doesn’t mean that pharmacy is the only game in town. Check prices at other local pharmacies, including your grocery store. If you can save enough to make the switch worthwhile, dole out your prescriptions among more than one pharmacy.

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Ask your doctor if the prescribed medication has a generic version to save big bucks. “Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less,” according to the Food & Drug Administration.

BCFC / istockphoto

Ordering a 90-day vs. a 30-day supply may save money on certain drugs. Check prices for both quantities before you fill a prescription. You’ll pay more upfront but the savings over three months may be worth it.


Check with local pharmacies for any discount programs they offer. For example, when you pay $20 (or $35 for a family plan) to join Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, you can get discounts on more than 8,000 medications. Plus, you can fill 90-day prescriptions on select generic drugs for the price you’d pay for two 30-day prescriptions.

Bonus: Walgreens’ program also provides discounts on prescriptions for your pets.


Save money by comparing prices at online pharmacies that deliver prescription drugs right to your doorstep. You may save a lot by ordering online.

 Plus, you’ll save on gas and time by not having to drive to the pharmacy and wait in line.


Many drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs if you meet income eligibility requirements. Contact the manufacturer for that pricey drug to find out if you’re eligible for deep discounts on a medication. To get an idea of how patient assistance programs work, visit RxAssist, which lists a comprehensive directory of patient assistance programs.

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It is important to choose your health insurance wisely.  Brokers are trained professionals that can assist you in finding the best plans for your unique needs.  If possible, find a broker that is familiar with plans in your area and that is certified to sell ACA plans.

“The least expensive plan is not always the best or the most cost-effective option.  Sometimes, a silver or gold plan may cost you less due to lower copays on brand name prescriptions. For those on Medicare, always have a broker review your part D (drug) coverage annually.  Even if your monthly premium is not set to increase, there is no way to know that your prescriptions are still covered the same way for the next year unless you do an analysis of this plan,” says Analisa Cleland, an insurance and financial advisor at Coto Insurance.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, have a certified broker review your coverage annually to ensure that your plan is still a good fit for your individual needs.

This article originally appeared on Debt.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


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