When we talk or think about consulting a mental health doctor, what do we mean? A medical doctor or an expert who is called a doctor because he holds a Ph.D. Some of us may think of the difference anyway because both are the same, mental health doctors.

Have any of us made an effort to determine if a psychiatrist and a psychology doctor are the same or different? Leave alone the common public who may not be aware that both are different. The medical staff are not knowledgeable of this difference and treat both psychiatry doctors and psychologists alike.

Psychiatry doctors are medical physicians who hold a degree in medical science and then specialized in treating mental health. Psychiatric counseling involves studying the brain’s biological components, analyzing the physical symptoms, finding the underlying cause of the problem, and treating the condition by using medication and drugs. 

On the other hand, the psychologist has completed their Ph.D.’s in philosophy or specialized counseling psychology. They later go on to do an internship under an expert for at least two years, after which, with the appropriate certification, they start practicing as a counselor or therapist in their chosen field.

Psychologists observe and analyze their patients’ behavioral patterns, like eating, sleeping, and social activities. Based on their observations, they intervene and make their clients realize their problems, make changes in their lifestyle, and help them cope with their problems. To overcome their psychological problems, they also suggest cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, etc.

Apart from the above differences in the educational qualifications and treatment approach, psychiatrists are authorized to prescribe medications to their patients just as equally as any physician.

However, psychologists cannot prescribe medicines. Although the psychologist also holds a degree in psychopharmacology, he can prescribe treatment to their patients on a case-to-case basis.

What psychological medical conditions are treated by psychiatry doctors?

Patients who show symptoms of mental health problems need to consult a psychiatrist when their mental health starts affecting their relationships and everyday life. Psychiatry doctors can diagnose and treat the following disorders:

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. Bipolar disorder
  3. Mood and anxiety disorders
  4. Attention deficit/ hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
  5. Autism
  6. Borderline personality disorder
  7. Depression
  8. Dissociative disorders
  9. Eating disorders
  10. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  11. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In addition to diagnosing and treating the disorder, the psychiatrist also figures out the underlying cause of the problem to prevent reappearing. The cause of the psychological problem can be biological, psychological, or social nature.

  • Biological causes: An imbalance in the hormonal levels of the person, genetic factors, lifestyle choices, nutritional deficiencies, chronic illnesses, etc.
  • Psychological causes: Trauma faced during childhood that was not attended to, stress, peer pressure, loss of a loved one, etc. contribute to psychological causes.
  • Social causes: Interpersonal relationships, work-related problems, problems arising due to their financial status in the society, substance abuse issues, abuses on social media, self-esteem issues, etc. are included.

To get the right treatment, we must approach the right specialist or psychiatry doctor. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good to our health. When you look for a psychiatrist in Bangalore, a few expert physicians are incredibly professional, well experienced, and trustworthy.

Read More: Top 5 Best Supplements for Mental Health

What are the types of treatment that can be given by psychiatric counseling?

  1. Medications: Like every other physical illness, even mental illness can be treated with medicines. Depending on the type and stage of the mental illness, there are different classes of medicines such as
    1. Antidepressants are prescribed for PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, OCD, eating disorders, etc.
    2. Antipsychotic medications are given to patients who are delusional and have hallucinations, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.
    3. Sedatives and anxiolytics are used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
    4. Hypnotics are given to patients who have difficulty sleeping.
    5. Mood stabilizers are prescribed to bipolar disorder patients who tend to have sudden shifts between manic and depressive episodes.
    6. Stimulants are often given to children with ADHD and Autism.
  2. Psychotherapy: Through this treatment, the patients are made aware of their mood, behavior, etc. which helps them recover on their own. 
  3. Brain Stimulants: It includes electroconvulsive therapy, deep brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation.
  4. Substance abuse treatment: substance abuse and alcohol addiction can interrupt with the medications given for other physical illnesses. In some cases, when the patient cannot control themselves, a psychiatrist’s intervention is required.  

Just like how important it is to take care of ourselves and consult a general physician when we are ill, it is equally important to consult a psychiatrist when needed. So, understand the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, to get the right treatment for your mental health issues.

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