Difference Between Psychologist And Psychiatrist

Emily Valdez

Website Admin
October 11, 2021

Difference Between A Psychologist And A Psychiatrist

Difference Between Psychologist And Psychiatrist​?

Psychiatrists and psychologists are two types of mental health providers. While they have several similarities, they play different roles in healthcare environment. Both treat a variety of mental health issues, but in multiple ways. While psychiatrists often use a mix of therapy and medication, psychologists focus on providing psychotherapy.

  1. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychologists are not.
  2. Psychiatrists prescribe medication, psychologists can’t.
  3. Psychiatrists diagnose illness, manage treatment and provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness. Psychologists focus on providing psychotherapy (talk therapy) to help patients.

Many people get psychiatrists and psychologists confused with each other.

Difference Between psychologist And psychiatrist, both psychiatrists and psychologists understand how the brain works, our emotions, feelings and thoughts. Both can treat mental illness with psychological treatments (talking therapies).

However, psychiatrists attend medical school and become medical doctors before doing specialist training in mental health. Because they are doctors, psychiatrists understand the links between mental and physical problems. They can also prescribe medications.

To go into it in some more detail, the main differences relate to:

  • training
  • treatments provided
  • conditions treated
  • getting an appointment.
  •  

Training

Psychiatrists are medical doctors with at least 11 years of training – usually more.

They first do a medical degree at university. Next they spend at least 1 or 2 years training as a general doctor.

They then complete at least 5 years training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Psychologists have at least 6 years of university training and supervised experience.

They may also hold a Masters or Doctorate level qualification in psychology. If they have a Doctorate (PhD) a psychologist can call themselves ‘Dr.’, but they are not medical doctors.

Clinical psychologists have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Treatments provided

Psychiatrists can provide a wide range of treatments, according to the particular problem and what will work best. These include:

  • medication
  • general medical care, including checking your physical health and the effects of medication
  • psychological treatments
  • brain stimulation therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Psychologists focus on providing psychological treatments.

Conditions treated

Psychiatrists tend to treat people who need their medical, psychological and social needs considered.

These are usually people with complex conditions, for example:

  • severe depression
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder.

Someone who has attempted suicide or has suicidal thoughts will usually be seen by a psychiatrist.

Psychologists are more likely to see people with conditions that can be helped effectively with psychological treatments. This might include behavioral problems, learning difficulties, depression and anxiety.

Emily Valdez

3 Comments

  1. Joanne

    Extra time spent for residency.

    Reply
  2. libby

    about 35k difference

    Reply
  3. Soprano Fan

    Dr. Melfi gave both medication and psychotherapy to Tony Soprano, what good did that do?

    Reply

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