Unlike most psychologists, psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medications.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health conditions and emotional problems.
Psychologists receive general medical education and training about the body, as well as training on how physical conditions relate to mental and emotional illness.
Because of this training, they are often better able to understand whether the patient’s mental and physical distress is due to physical or psychological factors.
As a medical doctor, a psychologist can prescribe medicine.
While the American Psychiatric Association says that half of the 42,000 psychiatrists in the United States have personal status, many work in other settings, such as:
General and psychiatric hospitals
Courts and jails
Industry, government and military settings
Schools and universities
What Do Psychiatrists Treat?
Psychologists diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that affect a person’s mental and emotional health.
They can help manage conditions ranging from anxiety, treatment, and anxiety, to eating disorders and stress, to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse.
These terms include:
Complaints of anxiety
Schizophrenia – in which people experience delusions, delusions, and misconceptions
Substance abuse disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Bipolar disorder – characterized by extreme swings in mood, energy levels and ability to think clearly.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Ongoing distress that may be due to past military combat, attacks or accidents.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Occurs with unwanted, repetitive thoughts and outbursts.
Psychiatrists Training and Education
After earning an undergraduate degree, psychologists enroll in medical school for four years, then complete a year of internships at a hospital where they care for patients with a variety of medical conditions.
They should then spend at least three years in a psychiatric residency program where they will learn about neurology, the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, various forms of psychiatric treatment, and psychiatric medication as well as other therapies.
Psychiatrists can become certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology if they pass the test.
Everyone who wants to be certified in the field of psychology must be board certified.
Typical features of psychology include:
Child and adolescent psychology
Hospice and advertising medicine (life care)
Psychology of society and public health
What’s the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
Like a psychologist, a psychologist studies the mind and the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people.
But a psychiatrist’s primary focus is often on diseases with chemical imbalances, while a psychiatrist focuses primarily on patients’ thoughts, feelings, and general mental health.
The two professions differ in their education and training needs.
Psychologists are medical doctors who have an MD, while psychologists have a doctorate that is either a PhD, a PSD, or an AD.
Because of these differences in training, psychologists can prescribe medication, while most psychologists cannot (three US states – Illinois, New Mexico, and Louisiana) allow psychologists to receive advanced training in psychopharmacology. Which is why they allow prescription drugs).
Psychologists tend to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree and a doctorate in psychology.
To become a licensed psychologist, most states require a two-year internship.
Psychologists can get additional schooling and licensing to specialize in a particular field of psychology.
They can also become experts in psychological analysis, a non-mental health treatment technique for drugs.
Despite their differences, psychologists and psychologists often work together or refer patients to each other according to their needs.