What Are the Main Differences Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

Many people utilize the terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” interchangeably. However, what they do not seem to comprehend is that these field of activity are significantly different in many aspects. There are intense discussions concerning these professions and patients get confused about whether  finding a psychiatrist  is more appropriate for their solving their problem than working with a psychologist.

In the following, we will explain the main factors that make the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The first difference is spotted in the suffix of these professions’ names. The “-iatry” in psychiatry indicates the necessity of medical therapy, while the “-ology” in psychology indicates the presence of science. In other words, while psychology is related to the research of the human mind, a psyschiatrist in Denver are those people who cure mental problems.

Both professions also vary in the elements of training and learning that are required to develop the skills in these areas. While psychologists must finish medical school and study for 5 to 5 years, depending on the type of diploma, psychologists are therapists and can practice as soon as they get their degree in psychology,  without any additional requirements or certification from regulators. A PsyD or PhD diploma is only offered to those specialists who complete their research in psychology studies.

The title of psychologist can be used only after the respective person has finished their period of research and internship. In some cases, they also utilize the name “therapist” or “counselor” to present themselves particularly in social environments. In the meanwhile, psychiatrists would go through a sequence of specific training in various areas concerning childhood, puberty, addictions, adults, substance abuse and other fields of interest.

Another difference can be found in the fact that psychologists cannot prescribe drugs to their patients. They are only allowed to use a number of psychotherapies and guidance methods to deal with the mental issue. Psychiatrists can apply psychiatric treatments, counseling and medicines to cure an individual. A false impression that continues to live on is that psychologists cure people with light afflictions, while psychiatrists can treat individuals with severe mental problems. This is false, as both can be helpful in treating more severe cases, or even work together to find the perfect approach. Psychologists usually focus on behavioral patterns. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, usually focuses more on neurochemistry and biology rather than behavior.

Another difference between the two is that, usually, psychologists are hired in the majority of social environments, like schools, universities, corporate offices, and so on, so that those having a stressful period or going through various problems can easily go to their cabinet and talk to them. On the other hand, psychiatrist usually work in specialized institutions and hospitals.

Knowing the main distinctions between these two important professions can help a patient in finding a psychiatrist or psychologist to help with their mental problems. If you don’t know where to turn to for help, you can always call any of the two types of professionals, and they will direct you towards the right specialist for you.