Sometimes potential patients ask whether I am a psychopharmacologist. Often they are not sure what the word means, but have been advised to seek one by a doctor, family member, or friend.
A psychopharmacologist is a psychiatrist who specializes in medication management. It is a self-applied label, as there is no special credential or license for this. All psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medication. Some make this a primary practice focus, and develop expertise with complicated medication issues. Others virtually never prescribe medication, focusing instead on psychotherapy or some other aspect of practice. Most psychiatrists, at least here in the Bay Area, are somewhere in between.
I am not a psychopharmacologist. My practice leans toward psychotherapy. Nonetheless, like most psychiatrists, I have prescribed plenty of medication over the years. I weigh a variety of treatment options, and try to avoid a “one size fits all” approach. Rarely, a situation of great medical complexity or mystery arises in which I believe a patient would be better served by a true specialist in psychiatric medication — a psychopharmacologist. To be honest, it doesn’t happen very often.