Dealing with a Shortage of Psychiatrists
Dr. David Sack Says...
There is a shortage of psychiatrists in many places as the specialty has not kept pace with demand. Over the last twenty years, primary care physicians (GPs, internal medicine, ob-gyn) have stepped in to provide treatment for patients with a range of problems. As a first line of treatment, this approach makes sense and is consistent with other medicine specialties. Primary care physicians currently prescribe 70% of antidepressants. If the first treatment fails, referral to a psychiatrist is the logical next step.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners have proven invaluable in filling the service gap. Many NPs have extensive experience in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings.
Page last updated Nov 15, 2011