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Psychologists & Psychiatrists Are Not The Same! 5 Differences You Didn’t Know About

11 December,2021  |  By Brainwonders

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First Step towards Mental Health

Taking care of one's mental health has become a must. Mental health is a condition of well-being in which a person recognises their potential, can manage typical life challenges, work creatively and fruitfully, and contribute to their community.

With each passing day, people are becoming more conscious of mental health challenges. People are becoming more outspoken about their mental health issues and taking actions to improve their mental well-being. However, when it comes to seeking professional treatment for your mental health difficulties, it might be a bit perplexing. Several questions may arise in your mind, such as whether you should see a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

It's a crucial question. There are a lot of different mental health providers to pick from, so you have a lot of options. However, depending on their occupation, qualifications, training, and education, the sorts of assistance and therapy they provide might differ significantly.

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It might be helpful to remember one essential distinction while looking for the proper professional: the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Their names are similar, and they both help with the diagnosis and treatment of those who have mental diseases. However, they do so in many ways.

Psychologist vs Psychiatrist

1. Education Qualifications:

While psychologists and psychiatrists both study the same issue of mental health, their approaches to it are vastly different. Psychiatry is a discipline of medicine that studies the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health problems. Doctor of Medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DOOM) are the two medical degrees that psychiatrists will hold (DO). They'll also have higher residency credentials and a psychiatric speciality. They write an exam to get a licence to practise their field in a specific state once they graduate with either of the degrees. In India, however, psychology is a discipline of the Humanities. A bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology are required for psychologists. Clinical psychology, counselling psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and so on are all subfields of psychology. As a result, a psychologist in their respective professions must have a licence from the Rehabilitation Council of India. A psychologist can then pursue a PhD as well.

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2. Approaches to Treatment:

Psychiatrists assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. They are medical professionals who are also licenced to offer mental health care. They'll go through your medical history and see if there are any underlying problems or drugs you're taking that might be contributing to your symptoms. Their medical training also allows them to request tests and write prescriptions to help them better understand and treat your issues. Psychologists are not allowed to give pharmaceutical medications. Instead, they provide talk treatments and exercises that are most suited for moderate mental illnesses, all of which is done after thorough observation and consultation with their patients. Psychologists are professional therapists. Therapy is carefully listening to the client and offering recommendations and direction to help them improve their mental health.

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3. Place of work:

Psychiatrists work like doctors in hospitals since they are medical professionals. A psychiatrist can work in the following locations in addition to hospitals:

  • private consultations
  • psychiatric facilities
  • medical schools at universities
  • residences for the elderly
  • Rehabilitation initiatives in prisons

On the other hand, a psychologist works with a psychiatrist. They work in the same settings as psychiatrists but choose to have their private practice. Psychologists work in the following places:

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  • Schools 
  • NGO's 
  • Suicide Prevention helplines 
  • Mental health Organisations 
  • Psychiatric ward of hospitals 
  • MNC's 
  • Deaddiction centres
4. Charges:

Psychiatrists and psychologists' fees are determined by a variety of criteria, including their education, experience, and certifications. A psychiatrist would typically charge between 600 and 800 rupees per session, whereas psychologists may charge between 800 and 1000 rupees per session. It is essential to mention that psychiatrists give prompt therapy since drugs have a faster effect and patients might feel better sooner. Psychologists, on the other hand, use therapy to treat patients for a longer length of time to change their behaviour patterns. Both therapies are equally successful. 

5. Whom to Approach?

The solution to this question necessitates a careful inspection of the issues at hand. Psychiatrists and psychologists complement each other's work. Medication or treatment alone will not assist with serious mental health concerns such as severe depression or anxiety, or personality disorders. Psychiatrists recommend that their patients have treatment concurrently with pharmaceutical treatment. The therapy improves the medicine's chances of effectiveness. While drugs lower the levels of dopamine and serotonin in clients, counselling changes behaviour patterns and helps clients learn healthier coping skills that they may utilise once they are off the meds.

It is not required for you to seek medical treatment every time for your problems. Psychiatrists seldom offer long-term talk therapy. It is recommended to get help from a psychologist if someone you care about is under a lot of stress and is showing indications of anxiety or despair. To calm their agitated minds, psychologists will guide them through mental treatment sessions. When a person is suffering from a serious mental illness, psychiatrists should be contacted. Extreme mood swings, erratic behaviour, and an unusual pattern of interruptions in daily life are all signs of mental health problems. The psychiatrist will be able to evaluate the problem and prescribe the most effective drugs to assist them to manage their mental health.

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6. Psychology vs psychiatry as a career option:

If you have the desire to become a doctor and also want to make a difference in people's lives by providing mental health treatment, being a psychiatrist or psychologist is a fantastic career choice for you. As a psychiatrist, you may be needed to complete the MBBS and MD programmes, and you will need exceptional memory and patience to comprehend human behaviour and give proper therapy. To become a psychologist, on the other hand, you'll need strong listening skills and a grasp of human behaviour, feelings, and emotions, as you'll be offering help to clients mostly by talking and listening. Career Counselling may help you identify which field you are best suited for.

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