February 20, 2020

What Is The Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

What Is The Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

It is 2020, society has a lot of problems. The stigma behind mental illness and depression no longer exists, according to Endeavour Wellness, a psychologist in Sutherland Shire. People are not afraid to talk about these problems but who should we talk about these problems to and which is better suited for you, a psychologist or a psychiatrist? 

The differences between a psychiatrist and a psychologist are 

– A psychiatrist can prescribe medication to their patients, a psychologist cannot. 

– A psychiatrist is an MD, a psychologist can also be a Dr but not in medicine. 

What do professionals think about psychiatrists vs. psychologists? 

John M. Grohol, Psy.D editor and chief of psychcentral.com asks the question, What’s the difference between a psychologist versus a psychiatrist? Is there one? Should you prefer going to see one over the other? What kinds of things do they treat? This article will answer that while explaining which might if not both may be right for you. 

According to Kendra Cherry of the website verywellmind.com, The terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” are often used interchangeably to describe anyone who provides therapy services, but the two professions and the services they provide differ in terms of content and scope. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medications, which they do in conjunction with providing psychotherapy, though medical and pharmacological interventions are often their focus. Though many psychologists hold doctorate degrees, they are not medical doctors, and most cannot prescribe medications.  

How long does a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist Go To School For? 

It takes a whopping 12+ years to become a psychiatrist according to www.globalpremeds.com. After your typical 4-year college degree, a psychiatrist must then complete 4 years of medical school. Then following the completion of their general medical school they must complete 4 years in a psychiatrist residency program. 

In some cases becoming a psychologist takes the same amount of time, just like a psychiatrist they must first complete a 4-year degree before moving forward to their training.

After the degree, a psychologist then, based on which kind of psychology they want to pursue, either goes for their masters or goes to med school. No matter which they choose they then must complete 1-2 years in training, which brings the total amount of schooling anywhere from 7-12 years according to www.verywellmind.com

What Treatments do a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist provide?  

Both a psychologist and a psychiatrist aim to do the same thing, understand our emotions, our feelings, and our thoughts. Then, in turn, treat whichever mental illness they have diagnosed with talking therapies. Psychologists’ main focus is the psychological treatments, psychiatrists have a few more methods.

On top of being trained in psychological treatment, a psychiatrist also can prescribe medication to patients as they see fit. Then, in turn, can determine the effects certain medicines can have on one’s psychosis and how medication can improve their psychosis. They can also check your physical health and can practice general medical care, in some cases, they are even trained to use electroconvulsive therapy. 

What conditions do a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist treat? 

When it comes to seeking which mental health professional to talk to it will depend majorly on your condition. Psychiatrists are trained to treat conditions that need medical intervention along with psychological, a psychologist solely focuses on the latter.  

A condition you would see a psychiatrist for is schizophrenia. This is because generally, you treat schizophrenia with medication along with psychological treatment. Which would require a psychiatrist to see the patient because they have the ability to prescribe the medication. A few other common conditions are severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (www.nimh.nih.gov). 

On the other hand, a psychologist would treat someone with a disorder (or without a disorder) that can be managed by talk therapy. In some cases anxiety, some forms of addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be treated by continual talk therapy alone.

A lot of people without disorders also seek psychologists’ help, mainly to help them overcome past and present personal problems where talk therapy can help them come to a conclusion, work past the problem or reduce stress. 

How do you make an appointment with a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist? 

When seeking the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist there are different ways you have to go about getting an appointment. Because a psychiatrist is a specialist you will need to get a referral from your GP (general practitioner). You don’t need a referral to see a psychologist, simply pick up the phone and book an appointment. 

In a lot of cases, the two of them work together. Psychiatrists will a lot of times diagnose and medically treat a patient and then send them to a psychologist for psychological treatment. Other times they may work together in a mental health team in a hospital setting.  

Useful videos and articles discussing the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists. 

There are a lot of other helpful articles and videos that further explain these differences. For a professionals opinion on the subject, Dr. Susan Fletcher has a great video that touches on these points in a very engaging way. WebMD also has a great article if you are unsure which professional is best for you. The most successful way to decide which is best for you though is to use these articles as talking points with your general practitioner and let them steer you in the right direction. 

Even though a Medical Degree separates the two professions, both are vital for mental health. 

At the core psychologist and psychiatrist both have the same end goal, work with you to better your mental health. Depending on your situation and treatment needs one will be more useful than the other. No matter which professional is right for you, they are both critical in the treatment of mental health whether it be severe or mild, forever or only for a short period of time.  

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