Whom should you see? Psychologist or a Psychiatrist

Whom should you see? Psychologist or a Psychiatrist

Dr Prerna Kohli, India's Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Dr Prerna Kohli, India’s Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Mental Health Concern – Whom to See

When you have mental health concerns and problems dealing with everyday life, you want to seek help. After that, what follows generally for most people is confusion on whether they should see a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. There are similarities and important differences too. Let us look at them now to clear your confusion.

Points of similarity:

  1. Both work on mental health issues of the client
  2. Both are there to help you with your problems and provide you with means to handle your everyday issues more productively

Points of differences:

Education:

Dr Prerna Kohli, India's Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Psychologists pursue a degree in the area of psychology, that is, the study of the mind and human behavior. Typically they have Ph.D. in Psychology or a degree in clinical or counseling psychology. Also, they are also well-versed with administering psychometric tests. Ex: IQ tests

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who graduate from medical school and they study the physical brain, its chemical composition, makeup and its relationship with human behavior.

Approach:

Psychologists look more closely at behavioral problems and deliver “talk therapy”. Thus, they track sleep patterns, eating patterns, negative thoughts or limiting beliefs that might be causing or contributing to the problem. Also, they conduct various kind of behavioral and mood therapies based on the particular needs of their clients.
On the other hand, psychiatrists are strongly oriented towards biology and neurochemistry. Hence, they check for other underlying problems like vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems before diagnosing depression. They prescribe medication after their diagnosis.

Dr Prerna Kohli, India's Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Dr Prerna Kohli, India’s Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Areas of help:

Psychologists are into various areas like marriage counseling, school counseling, developmental counseling, career counseling, counseling for an illness like stress, anxiety, depression etc.

Psychiatrists can be of major help in situations where physical symptoms reach their extreme like in the cases of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

 

Dr Prerna Kohli, India's Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Dr Prerna Kohli, India’s Leading Psychologist explains the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Where to start?

When you find yourself in troubled situations, it is better to start with a Psychologist as you don’t have to intake medicines, which generally have side-effects and some being addictive. Unless there is a major psychological problem rooted in brain chemistry rather than in behaviour, a good Psychologist should be able to help you out of your problem.

If that doesn’t help, the next best step is to seek Psychiatric help and use medication as a means of treatment in tandem with counselling support from a Psychologist. So, in advanced cases, medication along with talk therapy is the most advantageous as it settles the brain chemistry along with behavioural problems leading to lasting results.

When you have mental health concerns and problems dealing with everyday life, you want to seek help. What follows generally for most people is confusion on whether they should see a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. There are similarities and important differences too. Let us look at them now to clear your confusion.