On a number of occasions, people often get confused whether they should go to a psychiatrist or psychologists. Though both the disciplines work towards better mental health, there is a subtle difference between them.
Psychiatrists often work as typical doctors and would often prescribe medications to the patients. They also conduct therapy sessions. Psychologists on the other hand are more into cognitive sciences and their focus is to provide counseling sessions and therapy sessions to their clients. They mostly focus on going deeper into the case and look after the innate cause of mental illness. They do not prescribe medications in general.
If you have to choose between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, then you must focus on the problem that you have. Psychiatrists would treat a problem that is related to the functioning of your brain better while the psychologist are better equipped to handle emotional illness or any conditions arising out of day to day activities, other than the functioning of the brain. The reason behind this is that the psychologists are generally degree holders like Psy.D or PhD. They have conducted extensive research on a subject and they can go deeper and probe into your illness better. There are certain behavioral problems that are better handled by a psychologist than a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are often MD degree holders.
In general, a person’s first choice should be a psychiatrist who can assist them in their illness. The psychologist often dedicate most of their time in researching in the subject of their choice. Therefore, the people who are looking for a medical practitioner who can help them with mental illnesses must look for a psychiatrist. They will normally conduct tests, talk with you about the problems and use various techniques and even medications to help you get rid of a problem.
In any problems like hypertension, anxiety, depression or even bigger issues like multiple personality disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia can be helped by both the kinds of professionals. However, the term ‘psychiatry’ is broader and it includes a close connection with several other medical fields. While the psychologists would conduct researches and make theories (remember it is a ‘-logy’ therefore an organized field of science) while the psychiatrists would include medicine and doctoral practices to put these theories into effect. For immediate medical attention, psychiatry is better and for people who are looking for long term investigation of causes and effects, psychology would be an ideal choice.