In this post, we will discuss the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist and whom to consult for mental health treatment.
Sometimes life can get complicated and challenging for us. We look up to others who are able to help us with our problems and find solutions. When things get difficult, our closest and dearest are the first to whom we turn. However, many people seek professional assistance when things become unmanageable.
We may come across many names when searching for these professionals. These could include a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, Counsellor or Psychotherapist, and so on.
These names are ones you might have heard a lot but are not sure what they mean. There is still confusion between Psychologists and Psychiatrists. These two terms are frequently used interchangeably, but they do very different jobs.
Both are important professions in the area of mental health and behavior but are different. You should learn about their differences and who they are if you’re looking for professional help.
Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist: Who are They?
Who are psychologists? Psychology can be described as the scientific study and analysis of human behavior and the mind. Psychologists are people who study the Psychology of human behavior in different settings. They are experts on human behavior.
Who are psychiatrists? Psychiatry, on the other hand, is a branch of medicine that treats mental illness, emotional disturbances, and abnormal behavior. Psychiatrists examine biological, neurological, and biochemical abnormalities to diagnose mental illness and prescribe medication to treat them.
Both Psychology and Psychiatry play a vital role in developing and researching treatments that improve mental and emotional well-being. They share the common goal of helping people live well-functioning and healthy lives.
Difference Between A Psychiatrist and Psychologist
There are many areas where there are major differences, including in their approach, work areas, and education paths. Contrary to popular belief, they are different.
These are some difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist:
1. Psychologists use therapies to treat mental problems. Psychiatrists prescribe medications for treating them.
The most significant difference is the way they approach treating mental disorders. A psychiatrist uses a medication-first approach to their treatment. After a diagnosis has been made, the Psychiatrist will create a treatment plan for the patient. This plan will focus on managing the symptoms with medication and psychotherapy.
They may be trained in psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other forms of psychotherapy. However, they are usually not required to do the actual treatment.
Psychologists use a variety of therapies to help patients with their problems and manage their symptoms. Psychologists may employ a variety of therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psycho-dynamic Therapy. These professionals perform psychometric tests to assess a patient’s mental health and determine the best course of action.
If a person has recently tried suicide and is suffering from depression, a psychiatrist will prescribe antidepressant medication to help manage their suicidal tendencies. This will open the door to treatment and allow the patient to talk to the psychologist. The psychologist will then start therapy to address the root cause of the problem and help the patient manage their negative emotions.
Although psychiatrists and psychologists are both interested in the same subject, their approaches to it are very different.
A psychiatrist studies for an MBBS degree in mental health to become a doctor. They pass an exam after they have graduated with one of the degrees to be licensed to practice in their chosen state.
Then, they are required to keep the practice going for at least four years in a hospital with supervision by senior doctors. Every 10 years, psychiatrists need to renew their practice certificates.
For a Ph.D. or PsyD degree in psychology, a psychologist will study a four- or six-year program in medicine. To be licensed in a state where they can practice professionally, they will need to pass an exam.
3. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication; Psychologists cannot.
Psychiatrists can legally prescribe medication to patients. They are also doctors of medicine. Many disorders, such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and others, can be treated with psychiatric medication. Although therapy is possible, these disorders respond well to medication and can be treated primarily through medications.
However, psychologists cannot recommend such medication. Psychologists conduct psychological tests to diagnose patients and then treat them with therapy. If medication fails, psychologists refer the case to Psychiatrists.
4. Psychiatrists work with complex psychological issues; Psychologists are more concerned with developmental and behavioral issues.
People who have complex mental and psychological conditions like severe depression, psychotic behavior, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or autism will often be treated by a psychiatrist.
Psychologists are more inclined to treat people with conditions that can easily be managed with psychological treatment, such as mild depression, anxiety, adjustment problems, and learning difficulties.
These are the main differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrists. This will hopefully help you make the right choice for your career. Although mental health is an exciting and fulfilling field, it requires that you are resilient, compassionate, and emotionally stable. To build a career within this field, you must evaluate your strengths and complete a career assessment.
5. Whom to consult
Before you consult a psychiatrist vs. psychologist, it is important to first assess the mental health problems you are experiencing. A psychologist is recommended for anyone you care about experiencing a lot of stress or showing signs of depression and anxiety. To ease the mind of troubled people, psychologists will help them with mental therapy sessions.
When a person is suffering from severe mental illness, psychiatrists should be consulted. These symptoms include extreme mood and behavior changes, as well as unusual patterns of disruptions in daily life due to mental illness. A psychiatrist can diagnose the problem and prescribe the best medication to control the patient’s mental state.
In many cases, consulting both a psychiatrist and a psychologist can be beneficial. When it comes to diagnosing or treating mental illnesses, the two usually work together.
The bottom line
Although psychologists and psychiatrists have both important roles in mental healthcare, they use different approaches to diagnosing and treating mental conditions. These were some difference between a psychiatrist And psychologist.
Psychologists can help with symptoms by providing therapy and teaching coping skills. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and other treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
Are you unsure what type of support you require? These professionals can help you determine the best support for you. Contact Dr. Neha Mehta for more information.