Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist – What’s the Difference?

The difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is not well-known among people. Even if their loved one has a mental health condition, they are unsure where to turn.

Main Difference

Although these two names are similar and both are professional enough to diagnose and treat patients with mental health disorders, they are different in some aspects. The significant difference between psychiatrists and psychologists is that psychiatrists prescribe medications to patients for treatment. In contrast, psychologists treat patients using various psychotherapies (talk therapies) and other effective techniques.

What is a Psychologist?

To define psychology precisely, we can say that psychology is the study of the mind and behavior of an individual. A person who works in this field and is interested in how people think, feel and act in various situations is called a psychologist. Psychologists are experts and specialists in how people behave and act.

Psychologists use psychological evaluations and psychotherapies to help people cope with different problems, such as mental health issues, relationship issues, aggression, learning disabilities, etc. Psychologists prioritize offering patients conversation or psychotherapy as a treatment.

A psychologist does a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the university, and they can do MS or Mphill in psychology to become a psychologist. They can further proceed in their field by doing a Ph.D.

What is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is a field of medicine concerned with treating emotional disturbances, mental illness, and abnormal behaviors. A psychiatrist is someone who pursues a career in this area. A psychiatrist examines and makes a diagnosis for each biological, neurological, and biochemical abnormality.

For the treatment of these abnormalities, psychiatrists advise taking medications. A psychiatrist does MBBS, and later, they specialize in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They mainly work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, medical clinics, or private practice. They can further specialize in the field of mental health, such as:

  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Clinical neuropsychology etc


Most psychiatrists and psychologists work together in many countries as a team. For instance, if a person visits a psychologist with severe depression but the intensity of the depression is tough enough that it can not be treated with counseling or therapy, the psychologist refers that person to a psychiatrist who will give treatment with medicines, such as antidepressants, etc. And when a person’s depression eases or worsens, a psychiatrist will recommend the person back to the psychologist, who will continue treatment with therapy and counseling.

About James Smith

A freelance writer specializing in business, finance, and technology. He has studied these subjects and spends a lot of time developing content to assist explain complex content for the average individual.

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