Prescribing drugs has traditionally been something only doctors could do. But a group of psychologists want Illinois law changed to let them prescribe drugs for their patients. There are only two states that allow psychologists to prescribe drugs: Louisiana and New Mexico. Elaine LeVine is a New Mexico prescribing psychologist. She was in Illinois last week speaking with psychologists about her experience. The Illinois Psychological Association is planning a push to get the law changed next year. LeVine says patients with mental health problem have long had a hard time getting help in her home state, and the psychiatrists in Illinois we have are spread very thin. She says letting psychologists prescribe has increased access to care. Getting the prescribing license would require a master's degree, but psychiatrists like Doctor Lisa Rone say that's not enough training. She says lots of diseases masquerade as mental-health problems:
"Part of the job that we have to do is really trying to rule out that someone's fatigue is really depression, and not low thyroid or anemia."
Rone says psychologists interested in prescribing drugs already have an option: go to medical school.
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