How Does Psychiatry Differ From Psychology?

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Psychologists and psychiatrists work in the same field of mental health although there are some key differences. The main difference is that a psychologist requires a PHD or PSYD and a psychiatrist requires a medical degree. Because Psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can treat mental illness through the prescription of medication, whereas psychologists treat concerns through other methodology like talk therapy.


What Is a Psychologist?

In general, a psychologist will use questioning, observations, and surveys to collect information about behavior and the functions of the brain. Psychologists will use that information to recognize patterns in order to make diagnoses and impact behavioral changes on their patients to meet certain goals.

As mentioned before, psychologists must have either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a PhD in Psychology. The main difference between these two degrees is that a PsyD focuses more on practical work, while a PhD requires research and a dissertation. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or human services and, in most cases, a master’s degree in a related field is required to pursue a doctoral degree. Psychologists must also complete a certain amount of supervised clinical hours, though the requirements vary by state.


What Is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental disorders. They help patients alleviate symptoms of mental illness through writing prescriptions. Bother psychologists and psychiatrist use psychotherapy to help patients, although many psychiatrists will work in conjunction with a psychologist to help a patient.

Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, they are required to spend their last two years of medical school under the supervision of other experienced physicians in hospitals or clinics. They complete rotations and gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses.


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