Difference Between Psychiatrist and Psychologist

Difference Between Psychiatrist and Psychologist

If you are reading this, chances are you must have come across one mental health sensitization or the other. And as such, you understand that insanity is not the only form of mental problems. There are other subtle cases with seemingly negligible symptoms suffered by a large percentage of the world’s populace.

A very good example is depression, which many people ignore at the onset. Ignoring any symptoms of mental illness, no matter how trivial they may seem, can result in very complicated issues. It is best to employ the help of an expert to help deal with the problem. Having said that, who exactly is the right person to talk to in such a case?

This question is very important because many people do not know the difference between psychiatrist and psychologist. This is very understanding considering that experts in these fields have similar job descriptions, but knowing the difference can be helpful.

Definition of Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical expert whose job is to diagnose, treat, and prevent mental disorders with the use of medications and therapies when necessary. It takes as long as 11 years or more to become an expert in this field.

This is because you’ll need to go through rigorous training in different areas that have to do with mental and general health. First of all, you get a medical degree from a medical school, train for a couple of years as general doctors, after which you go into a special training that is focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental cases.

Another note that answers the question what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? – is their treatment methods. Psychiatrists use medications in treating their patients, in addition to other approaches. The use of medications and general medical care is strictly peculiar to them because they trained extensively for it and can tell if and when a person is in such need.

Definition of Psychologist

A psychologist is a professional whose job is to diagnose/treat mental disorders and correct behavioral patterns that are related to it with the use of talk therapy. To be a psychologist, you’re expected to study it as a course and be certified; PsyD or PhD in either clinical or counseling psychology or both. Usually, they are expected to spend about a couple of years on internship training where they learn more about the theory and its application, solution techniques, analytical testing, methods of treatment, and behavioral therapy.

More often than not, people wonder – what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?  Aside from their training processes, the method of treatment differs. A psychologist administers treatment using psychotherapy. This is basically the use of regular personal interaction aimed at altering a person’s behavior and approach towards life. It is important to note that they do not have the capacity, neither are they required to treat a patient using medical approaches like administering drugs.

Psychiatrist vs Psychologist Comparison Table

There is more to the difference between clinical psychologist and psychiatrist than what you’ve read so far. In the table below, we explained the major differentiating factors between these two professions.

Basis of Comparison Psychiatrist Pshychologist
Definition A medical expert whose job is to diagnose, treat, and prevent mental disorders with the use of medications and therapies when necessary A professional whose job is to diagnose/treat mental disorders and correct behavioral patterns that are related to it with the use of talk therapy
Education Spends at least 11 years Spends at least 6 years
Methods of treatment – Medication
– Brain stimulation therapies
– General medical care
– Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy
Conditions treated – Severe depression
– Bipolar disorder
– Schizophrenia  
– Learning difficulties
– Conduct issues
– Autism
– Anxiety
– Attention deficit disorder
– Depression

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Psychiatrist vs Psychologist

So far, we’ve managed to answer the question what the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? But the most outstanding of them all has to do with the methods of treating patients in each case.

A psychiatrist (Mr A) is trained and licensed to administer drugs as a medical doctor, but a psychologist (Mr B) can’t prescribe drugs seeing as they are not trained to do so. Mr A can refer a case to Mr B and vice versa considering what the case is all about. For instance, someone who has attempted suicide should be treated by Mr A, and someone who has anger problems needs Mr B.