Major Differences Between Psychiatrists and Psychologists

For several years, there was a persistent stigma around mental illness. However, in recent times, people are becoming more comfortable with their mental struggles. Additionally, many more are opting to see professionals and therapists get help. Because mental health is still a new notion for many people, they are still shy and nervous when making an appointment with a mental health professional. 

For instance, your condition may require the help of a psychiatrist or, at times, a therapist. You may think that these two are interchangeable and maybe even have problems differentiating their roles. Although they are both professionals trained to help you with your mental health, they are different. However, they are similar in some ways, and these two disciplines are in some cases used in tandem. Here are two significant differences between the two that will help you make the right choice.

1.Training

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, and he or she has at least 11 years of training under their belt. Most times, they are trained for longer. First, they get a medical degree from their university, after which they will spend one to two years training as a general practitioner. Afterward, psychiatrists train for a minimum of five years to diagnose and treat various mental conditions and illnesses. Therefore, a psychiatrist has the proper training to use therapies such as TMS therapy to help treat you if treatments like talk therapy fail to work.

On the other hand, a psychologist has a minimum of 6 years of university training and supervision. They could also have a Doctorate or Master’s level qualification in psychology. If the psychologist has a Ph.D., they can take up the ‘Dr’ title, although they are not qualified as medical doctors. Clinical psychologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses.

2.The type of treatment provided

Psychiatrists can provide several types of treatments according to the nature of the problem. These treatments include prescribing medication and providing psychological treatment too. Psychiatrists can also provide general medical care. This includes checking up on your physical health and the effects of the drug they have prescribed to you. Lastly, they can give brain stimulation therapies, including ECT and TMS therapies.

Psychologists mainly focus on providing you with psychological treatments for mental disorders and conditions. They are very instrumental in helping people who need their psychological, social, and medical needs met. Therapists usually help people with complex conditions such as bipolar disorder, severe depression, and schizophrenia.

Generally, psychologists help people who have conditions that are easily treatable using psychological approaches. These disorders include anxiety and behavioral problems. On the other hand, if you have suicidal ideations, you will need to see a psychiatrist.

To see a psychiatrist, you will need to be referred by your GP. However, when you want to see a psychologist, you don’t need any referral. Although they are different in different ways, psychologists and psychiatrists usually work together. They are both at the forefront of upholding mental health and wellbeing.

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