Psychology and Psychiatry- the Points of Difference

11:35 PM
Though both psychology and psychiatry are related to mental health, yet there are certain points of difference between the two. The aim of either is to help people with difficult mental conditions, but as a patient or someone related to a patient, it is good to be aware of the points of difference between the two for the sake of treatment.

In order to become a doctor of psychiatry, one should pursue the bachelors degree followed by four years of medical college for the title of M.D. or D.O. This entails another four years of residency. A psychiatrist is the person who has the license to diagnose mental orders legally.


The studies of a psychologist is rather different, a student of psychologist could follow any stream of studies but that has to be five to seven years of schooling. The various branches of psychology in which students invest their years, is either scientific research or they focus on families and individuals, imparting services on counseling, just as James Mitchell a former psychologist in the Air Force.

A psychologist is not suppose to prescribe any medication, but in consultation with a psychiatrist he can do so, only after conducting tests to ensure the absolute need of the patient. Similarly, if a psychiatrist thinks that medications are not sufficient for the recovery of the patient, they take the assistance of psychologists to give counseling. Here, we see, that both professions need to take the help of each other in several of their cases.

Though these two branches of science seem to be overlapping each other or very similar to each other in both being related to the mental status, brain, emotions, thoughts and feelings. The basic difference between the two lies in its educational requirements, specific training that is required, the practices and salary acquired.

A psychiatrist is known as physician with specialization in psychiatry maybe, while a psychologist is known as doctor as he/she holds the degree of a doctor. A psychiatric treatment mainly focuses on medication whereas psychologists focus mainly on research and that is what sets him apart from other mental treatment providers. Psychology primarily uses research work to find out whether particular forms of treatment are appropriate or not.

In simple words a psychologist like James Mitchell, who worked for the Air force, takes the help of laboratory tests, interviews and surveys to study the mind of a patient. They may focus on individuals or groups as their subjects of study.

Contrary to this a psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosis,treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. Mental problems like depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, are addressed by psychiatrists. The path of education is much more difficult and complex for a psychiatrist than for a psychologist. While the state board of psychology should give a license to the upcoming psychologist, the state of residency must license a psychiatrist as medical doctor.

No matter what the differences between the two are, each has to be dependent on the other, in order to fulfill their ultimate target of helping a patient in dealing with his difficult times.

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