Psychologists and Psychiatrists – What’s the difference?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with a degree in medicine, then specializing in the field of psychiatry. They are experts in pharmacotherapy for the treatment of various mental disorders.
On the other hand, psychologists are the ones with a post-graduation degree in the field of psychology, who also can pursue their MPhil and Ph.D. in the same field. Unlike Psychiatrists, they do not prescribe medications for any mental abnormalities. Instead, psychologists diagnose the mental illness or behavioral problems of the clients and provide suitable treatment through counseling and psychotherapy. The main role of a psychologist lies in finding the root cause of mental illness.
So, who should be consulted first?
Usually, in mental health hospitals, the Psychiatrists would examine the patients carefully. Later on, if necessary they would send them to psychologists for further psychotherapy or counseling. In some cases, psychiatrists may decide not to prescribe psychotherapy for their patients.
However, it is suggested to meet a psychologist first if anyone is going through any kind of mental health issue. Once the assessment is done by the psychologist, s/he can decide with the consent of the client if counseling and psychotherapy would be sufficient or if medications would be required. If medication is required, then they would certainly refer them to a psychiatrist.
Most of the mental health issues do not need medication.
There are a few psychiatrists who also have expertise in psychotherapy. In such a scenario, most of them prefer psychotherapy instead of pharmacotherapy.
Having said this, it is also important for everyone to understand that whenever somebody is going through any kind of emotional turbulence, it is always better to consult a mental health practitioner. The illnesses can be easily cured and handled at the initial stages itself. The more you keep pushing and postponing it, the more would be the time of recovery. One should not be hesitant to reach out for help. Mental health is equally important vis – a -vis physical well being of an individual. Be kind to your mind!
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