Everyone needs someone to talk to every now and then. Whether its anxiety, social issues, or concerns about mental health, many want to explore treatment by seeking out a mental health professional, usually a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Aren’t they the same? While both psychiatrists and psychologists are experts in treating mental health and therapeutic concerns, they differ in education, training and focus in their practice. Still not sure which would be best for you or a loved one? Here’s a guide to help you understand each one a little bit better.
Psychologists can get their education and receive a doctoral degree from any accredited graduate school. The difference between a psychologist with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) is their graduate school focus. Ph.D. is a research-based discipline, while a Psy.D. is a medical degree that focuses on the scientific aspects of psychosocial therapy.
In comparison, psychiatrists must go to medical school and receive training similar to any other professional in the medical field. Following medical school, psychiatrists must complete a 4-year residency training to learn to diagnose and treatment patients, as well as extensive psychotherapy training. They can then specialize in a certain field.
Psychologists are not able to prescribe medications in practices unless they practice in New Mexico and Louisiana. Instead, they help patients by focusing on their minds and emotions in what’s called psychosocial therapy for treatment. Each psychologist uses different methods of psychological testing.
Meanwhile, as medically trained doctors, psychiatrists have the duty of diagnosing mental disorders, utilizing criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic. They can prescribe medications since their practice focuses on the chemical imbalances within the brain, and a good deal of their efforts are spent with managing patients’ medication for treatment, monitoring the effects and evaluating the results.
If you believe you or a loved one has a mental health issue, speak first with your primary care physician who knows you and your family best. Your primary care doctor may suggest that you visit with a psychologist if you, or your loved ones, express observation or concern for behavioral patterns around work, recreational, or social areas. After speaking with a psychologist about the mental and emotional state of a patient, the psychologist may refer them to a psychiatrist for a medical diagnosis and to provide treatment with prescribed m medication. Working in tandem, psychologists and psychiatrists can help patients receive the best care, and help their body and mind to work in tandem. They may also recommend seeing a clinical social worker or participating in group therapy sessions for additional talk therapy.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health and pain management, it’s imperative to have a reputable and experienced medical team by your side. Lynx Healthcare offers a variety of medical care services, including interventional pain medicine, regenerative medicine, chiropractic and massage therapy, and much more. To make an appointment at one of the Lynx Healthcare clinics in Oregon, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Goldendale, call us at (509) 591-0070, or contact our Spokane clinic at (509) 321-4575. We look forward to helping you enjoy an active, pain-free lifestyle!