Study: Psychiatrists choose drugs over therapy

A new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry seems to say incentives from managed care and more choices for psych drugs means psychiatrists increasingly turn to the prescription pad rather than the therapy couch.

While some type of psychotherapy is recommended for many conditions--including depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder--visits did not include such therapy when the patient was under a managed care provider.

The study found that while psychiatry visits involved psychotherapy for 44 percent of visits in 1996 and 1997, only 29 percent of office-based visits did so in 2004 and 2005.  Some say the fact that a few quick medication-monitoring visits pay much better than a longer psychotherapy session conducted in the same amount of time could be the reason for the switch, while others say the cornucopia of new meds on the market might be the cause.

- read the Pharmalot blog post
- see the study