How Much Does A Psychiatrist Cost?

Updated September 7, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

It’s not uncommon for people to use the labels “psychiatrist” and “psychologist” interchangeably, but these are two very different jobs with different responsibilities, educations, and professional scope. Understanding the difference between the two can help you know which professional may be right for you and be better suited for your mental health care.


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A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. For all intents and purposes, they have the same training and knowledge as your general doctor, but they chose psychiatry as their specialty. Because of their training and background, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to treat your condition.

This likely means psychiatrist visits will be more costly than when you choose other types of mental health professionals to work with and when you are considering how much does a psychiatric cost. They may include medication as part of your treatment plan, and they may refer you to another professional like a psychologist for talk therapy. Although medication is necessary in some instances, talk therapy offers more long-term treatments; this is why a psychiatrist often works alongside a psychologist or therapist.


Psychologists typically obtain their Ph.D. or PsyD in psychology. In general, psychologists tend to approach mental health treatment with psychotherapy and theories, so they can evaluate, assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are not able to prescribe medication. For medication management, you will instead need to take advantage of psychiatric care.

Why Would Psychiatry Be My Best Option?

If you’re struggling with mental health concerns, a psychiatrist will assess you for an underlying medical condition that could be causing your symptoms. They may prescribe medication, and they may refer you to a therapist or psychologist if they believe therapy will be helpful. They will work with you to create a comprehensive plan for your psychiatric treatment and recovery. You must take all these things into account when calculating how much does a psychiatrist cost and if the care is a good idea for you.

How Much Does A Psychiatrist Cost?

The cost of working with a psychiatrist will depend on where you live, your insurance provider, and your treatment requirements. In addition to their fee, certain psychiatric care, tests, and lab work all have various costs to consider. The average psychiatrist’s fee generally falls somewhere between $100 and $300 per appointment. You should expect to pay up to $500 for the initial consultation and roughly $100 an hour thereafter for follow-ups. This can fluctuate depending on the doctor and your health insurance. For this reason, how much does a psychiatrist cost is a question that has no definite answer.

If you want to work with a psychiatrist, be sure to visit or call them and have a talk with their staff to figure out what your costs could be, including any tests you might need. In some cases, a psychiatrist may be able to work with you to make your visits more affordable. Speaking to your doctor ahead of time can also help you identify cost-saving treatment alternatives where possible. If you’re well-prepared, you can find ways to save money. Keep in mind that they can provide you with professional medical advice, much like your physician. This is why their costs may be higher than with other mental health professionals.

How Can I Afford a Psychiatrist?


While quality treatment won’t come cheap, there are options to help you make it more affordable for you. You can find a way to afford the in person care you need.

Use Your Health Insurance

Your insurance provider is the easiest way to reduce the costs associated with getting treatment. Make sure you check to see if your insurance coverage includes a form of mental health coverage. In most cases, your health insurance will require you to get a doctor’s recommendation for treatment from a psychiatrist. This could lead to you having to pay referral costs. Also know that your plan may only cover a certain number of visits per year, and certain psychiatrists may not be covered under your plan. If you wish to mitigate costs via insurance, ensure the psychiatrist you choose is in your insurance in network providers before scheduling an appointment.

You should also be aware of the conditions of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by the federal government that states that many healthcare providers must cover mental health problems, including things like substance abuse disorder services, and the in person care associated with treating them. If you don’t know the specifics of your plan, talk to your insurance provider about the outpatient mental health services that are available and what part you can expect the insurance cover. In some instances, you may qualify for financial assistance on mental health services as well. Check the details of your insurance coverage for the most detailed information or talk to your agent.

If you are trying to find a children’s health insurance program that offers behavioral health services or other mental health coverage options, you should talk to your health insurance company a out in network providers that provide services that are specifically for children.

Ask About Sliding Scales

Some community mental health clinics and the occasional psychiatrist will offer to price their psychiatric costs on a sliding scale. This means that the amount you are charged will depend on your income. Those who make more will pay more, so to speak. This may be beneficial if you are paying your psychiatrist cost without insurance. If you’re worried that your income may not be adequate to afford services, ask your primary care doctor about this option. They may be able to give you more details on how to save money when it comes to treating a mental health issue.

You may also talk to your employer about an employee assistance program, which may be useful in some fields or through certain companies. This type of program allows for you to take advantage of free or low cost mental health or behavioral health services when they are of a personal nature or work related.

Look for A Reduced Cost Mental Health Clinic in Your Area

In many places, there are clinics that operate at an overall reduced cost, so people with low incomes or no insurance can afford their services. Though they may offer low-cost appointments, you might have to wait for a while to get on their schedule. These clinics may be a good idea if you are wondering how to pay a psychiatrist cost without insurance.

Try to Save On Your Prescriptions

If your treatment turns out to require a prescription, this can be another area where you can cut costs. Some people opt for generic versions of the popular name brand medications. If you’re interested, make sure to ask for this at the outset if possible; you don’t want to switch medication during treatment unless you’re told to do so. There are also sites like GoodRx, which can show you the cheapest place to find your medication in your area. They’ll also offer discounts that aren’t connected with your insurance. This could also be handy for medication management.

Don’t Let High Prices Stop You from Getting Help

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Counselor Reviews

“I have not been working with Andrea for long but I have found her to be compassionate and adaptable. I would recommend her to people who need help processing complex trauma and have found other talk therapy approaches unhelpful. She understands that while I practice and find merit in CBT type thought therapy, doing thought exercises while in the middle of a PTSD episode is unlikely to be possible. A person having flashbacks during an acute crisis is unlikely to be capable of doing thought exercises. Andrea seems to naturally understand something important that most medical professionals, in my extensive experience as both a worker and a patient, seem to miss these days: telling a person who is literally dying slowly and painfully that they should be able to meditate away that pain and carry on as normal without any medication or outside emotional support , is ridiculous. Andrea has been a breath of fresh air in that regard. She helped me realize that if a doctor or therapist isn’t able to empathize and they are approaching my problems cynically and with indiscriminate doubt, they cannot help me. Andrea is the first person in a long time that inspired me to hope they can help and trust that they will at the very least try.”

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You Are On the Right Path

The first step in dealing with mental health issues is acknowledging they exist. Then you can seek help. If that’s why you’re here, you’re already on the right path. Millions of others just like you have found effective treatments to heal from mental health issues. You can, too. Take the first step today. Be sure that you are also considering all your options when it comes to taking advantage of psychiatric treatment or mental healthcare. There are options to consider when it comes to saving money or making the most of your health insurance coverage, including sliding scales, local clinics, and a related employee assistance program.

Do you need a referral to see a psychiatrist?

No. If you’re having mental health concerns and you would like to see a psychiatrist you don’t need a referral. Many people do end up getting referrals from their primary care doctors when mental health challenges are discovered during routine visits or checkups. However, you can schedule a psychiatrist visit whether you have a referral from a doctor or not, although sometimes your health insurance may require one.

Can a psychiatrist prescribe medication on first visit?

Yes. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical professional who went to medical school, that can prescribe medication. If your psychiatrist feels you need medication based on your session they will prescribe the best medication for you. This process is the same — even if this is your first visit. They are a type of doctor, so you can trust that they are providing the most professional medical advice available for your mental health condition.

What medications do psychiatrists prescribe for anxiety?

Psychiatrists and medical professionals prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to treat anxiety and its related conditions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed medications for anxiety. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are another example of a class of drugs prescribed to treat anxiety and depression.

What would you see a psychiatrist for?

People visit psychiatrists for a variety of issues with moderate to severe mental illness. Psychiatrists prescribe medication for people who require it and make referrals for counseling and therapy as an extension of treatment. You can also visit a psychiatrist for a psychiatric evaluation, which will allow them to determine what type of mental health treatment is most required.

What happens at your first psychiatrist appointment?

When you visit your psychiatric for the first time, your doctor will provide psychiatric support and advice in the form of a treatment plan. Your treatment plan outlines what methods, medications, and psychotherapy techniques will be used during the course of mental health treatment.

What does a psychiatrist do for anxiety?

When you visit a psychiatrist for anxiety, you can expect to receive a diagnosis, a recommendation for psychotherapy services, and medication if your condition is moderate or severe. Your psychiatrist will likely recommend therapy sessions with a licensed provider to help mitigate anxiety symptoms.

What happens during a psychological evaluation?

During a psychological evaluation, your mental health provider will ask you a series of questions about your history. Based on how you answer the questions about your life, history, experiences, other factors, and events, your provider will make an assessment or diagnosis.

Can a psychiatrist diagnose?

Yes. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical professional like a primary care physician who can diagnose and treat mental illness and other mental health related issues. A psychiatrist is also licensed to write prescriptions for mental health medications.

How much does it cost to be evaluated by a psychiatrist?

When you are trying to determine the approximate psychiatry cost to expect, this may be different, depending on the doctor you choose to work with. Since psychiatrists are medical doctors, treatment costs might be more than with another mental health professional. In other words, a psychiatrist cost will be different depending on the doctor and what services you need from them.

Psychiatrist cost with insurance will be substantially less than psychiatrist cost without insurance as well, so you may need to talk to friends and loved ones you know, who may be able to provide more information regarding amounts. You can do an internet search for more details.

You can talk to your doctor ahead of time to determine what the cost will be or refer to your insurance plan to find out your deductible and to learn more about in network psychiatrists that you can work with.  

Is a therapist cheaper than a psychiatrist?

You might be curious about how much does a psychiatrist cost, and the answer is different, depending on the doctor you visit. Treatment costs may differ from one professional to the next and can change substantially due to your health insurance plan. While your plan may cover mental health care, it may not cover the costs associated with all types of mental health professionals. You will need to speak to both the professional you want to work with as well as your insurance company to find out the specific costs and what type of mental health care is most cost effective.

Are psychiatrists worth it?

If you are wondering whether you should take advantage of a psychiatrist visit and the psychiatrist cost associated with one, this is up to you. A psychiatrist is a doctor, so you will likely be receiving the best care when you opt for their services. Also, your health insurance provider may cover some of the costs associated with this type of mental healthcare. If you want to learn more about health insurance plans that will cover psychiatric treatment, you can look online for more information. You may find a plan that can lower out of pocket expenses when it comes to visiting with any type of mental health professional. Then it will be up to you to decide which type of therapy you want to take advantage of.

What should I not tell a psychiatrist?

When you are utilizing psychiatric services, you should be able to talk to a professional about whatever you are comfortable discussing. During your initial consultation, you may determine if you trust them and whether you feel free to engage with them in the future. If you are comfortable with them right away, you should continue to talk to them about whatever you need to. This includes your mental health concern, symptoms you are experiencing, including physical symptoms, and anything else that is on your mind. If you don’t feel comfortable, it may be necessary to find another psychiatrist that is covered by your health insurance provider.

How do I know if I need a psychiatrist?

If you want to take advantage of the services of a psychiatrist, you can consider getting a psychiatric evaluation. This is essentially the way to determine what mental health services will be appropriate for you. Mental health tests will be conducted to determine treatment options that may be beneficial. If you are experience a mental health disorder, this type of evaluation will be helpful and can dictate what care you should consider. Some of the services may be covered by your health insurance as well.

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