Whenever faced with an issue regarding your mental health, it is important to consult a professional, but who to reach out? Do you reach out to a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist?
This is a dilemma very common amongst almost everyone not related to mental health consultation. Let us try and understand the professions of psychology and psychiatry to get a clearer picture.
These two terms are usually used interchangeably, but they are fields that are not the same in their key focuses. Both of the fields are dedicated to the treatment of mental illness but there is a difference in their approach to doing so.
Psychiatrists are more of medical professionals who can prescribe medication, which should be done along with psychotherapy, but pharmacological and medical interventions are their key focus areas. This means that a psychiatrist may be a doctor, to which you’ll come for psychological problems. The foremost important difference compared to a psychologist is that a psychiatrist is allowed to prescribe medication, and has not had the maximum amount of communication technique training as a psychologist. So a psychiatrist may prescribe medication and can more quickly use medication as treatment than a psychologist will.
Psychologists on the other hand cannot prescribe pharmacological treatments.
Psychology, majorly is the study of people, how they think, act, and interact with other people. All aspects of an individual’s behavior, feelings, thoughts, and motivation, elemental to such behaviors are major areas of focus of psychology.
Their key focus remains around behavioral and cognitive intervention or psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy entails many ways to help an individual overcome mental illness and emotional difficulties. It can help to eliminate or control symptoms, so as to restore one’s well-being.
A person who recognizes any symptoms related to mental health must begin by consulting their general physician regarding their psychological symptoms that they are experiencing.
The physician after assessing the symptoms might refer them to a psychologist.
The psychologist might refer them to a psychiatrist who can prescribe and monitor medications. The psychologist and the psychiatrist may go together, with the psychologist offering behavioral interventions and therefore the psychiatrist providing or adjusting medication, so as to best address the patient’s needs.
Both of these professions study and understand the working of the human mind and behavior but their approaches to treatment are different. In short, psychiatrists prescribe medication and psychologists cannot. For proper recovery, both of them work hand in hand.