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Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist

Because psychologists and psychiatrists sometimes work together for the well-being of patients, their job descriptions often overlap. However, there are some crucial differences between a psychologist and psychiatrist. The most critical is the nature of treatment within the two professions. Here are the differences between the two professions.

Psychology vs. Psychiatry Treatment

Because psychiatrists are trained medical doctors, they can prescribe medications. Also, they spend much of their time with patients on medication management as a normal course of treatment. Psychologists focus primarily on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention. Psychologists are qualified to conduct psychological testing as well, which is crucial in assessing a patient’s mental state and determining the most effective course of treatment.

How they’re Alike

Psychiatrists and psychologists are different types of doctors. But, they are both trained to help you deal with mental health issues. Both are there to talk you through problems. They aim to provide you with the means to manage the issues in everyday life.

Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist Education

The professions of psychiatry and psychology also differ in terms of education. Psychiatrists attend medical school and are trained in general medicine. After earning an MD, they practice four years of residency training in psychiatry. Their experience typically involves working in the psychiatric unit of a hospital with patients, from children and adolescents with behavior disorders to adults with severe cases of mental illness.

Psychologists must obtain a PhD or PsyD doctoral degree. This can take up to four or six years. Throughout their education, psychologists study personality development, the history of psychological problems as well as the science of psychological research. Graduate school provides rigorous preparation for a career in psychology by teaching students how to diagnose mental and emotional disorders in varying situations.

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:

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

Job Outlook

The job outlook for psychologists and psychiatrists is expected to grow at a very similar rate. The predicted demand for psychiatrists is expected to rise at a rate of 15 percent between the years 2014 and 2024, amounting to an increase of around 4,200 jobs. The demand for psychologists is expected to grow at a larger rate of 19 percent between the years 2014 and 2024, amounting to an increase of about 32,500 more jobs.

Psychology vs. Psychiatry in Practice

After seeing a primary physician for a referral, a patient might work regularly with a psychologist addressing behavioral patterns. That psychologist may refer the patient to a psychiatrist who can prescribe and monitor medication. The psychologist and psychiatrist work in tandem to treat patient symptoms from both a behavioral and clinical standpoint.

Working together

Psychiatrists and psychologists often work together. A psychiatrist might make an initial assessment and diagnosis, and then refer you to a psychologist for ongoing psychological treatment. Psychiatrists and psychologists also work together in hospitals as part of mental health teams.

Psychologists and psychiatrists represent different professional designations, but both play a critical role in the field of mental health. Crucial differences between psychologists and psychiatrists are educational background and prescribing powers, but both share the important goal of helping patients feel better.