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More Psychiatrists Shifting from Talk Therapy to Drugs

Many of the 48,000 psychiatrists in the U.S. no longer provide talk therapy, mostly as a result of changes in how much insurance will pay.  Instead, psychiatrists instead prescribe medication, often after only a brief consultation with the patient.

It used to be that psychiatrists would treat a relatively small number of patients in weekly talk-therapy sessions. Now each psychiatrist often treats over 1,000 people, mostly in 15-minute visits made every few months for prescription adjustments.

The New York Times reports:

“The switch from talk therapy to medications has swept psychiatric practices and hospitals, leaving many older psychiatrists feeling unhappy and inadequate. A 2005 government survey found that just 11 percent of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients, a share that had been falling for years and has most likely fallen more since. Psychiatric hospitals that once offered patients months of talk therapy now discharge them within days with only pills.”

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