Understanding the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist

Cover credit: Diffen

Cover credit: Diffen

As is the case with anxiety disorders, the different mental health roles are also mixed up.

The public generally confuses a psychologist with a psychiatrist. Regardless of their academic status, most people can’t identify the exact difference between the two mental health specialists.

In fact, both a psychologist and a psychiatrist treat mental health issues, helping their patients overcome certain problems that occur in their daily life. They are both considered in charge of helping whoever is suffering and seeking mental help.

But the differences are numerous. Mainly, it is the educational background of a mental health specialist that makes all the difference.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who approaches the patient’s case from a biological and neurological point of view. But again, a psychiatrist is not a neurologist. People tend to consider visiting a neurologist first because psychiatrists are “the doctors of the crazy.”

The most known distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the latter can prescribe medication. A psychiatrist’s medical training gives them the right to treat patients using psychiatric medications, which cannot and should not be prescribed by psychologists.

Meanwhile, a psychologist is a psychology graduate with an experience in the areas of psycho-social support, behavioral therapy and counseling, among others. They are trained to be able to lead their patient through a successful therapy process.

While psychiatrists prescribe medication, psychologists usually test their patients with IQ tests, personality tests or projective tests.

Each of the two specialists has a specific job to do. One does not replace the other. In fact, both are equally necessary for a patient’s full recovery.