What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
Monday, July 06, 2009
The simplest way to describe the difference between them is that a psychologist primarily aids the depressed patient by counseling and psychotherapy. A psychiatrist may also perform psychotherapy; but, in addition, can prescribe medications and perform ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. A psychologist may hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) and be called "doctor"; but, is not a medical doctor (M.D.).

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is an illness that affects or is manifested in a person's brain. It may impact on the way a person thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people.

Once someone has had a mental illness can they ever get better again?

Most people with mental illnesses who are diagnosed and treated, will respond well and live productive lives. Many never have the same problem again, although some will experience a return of symptoms. The important thing is that there is a range of effective treatments for just about every mental disorder.

How do I get help for a mental illness?

The first step is to talk to your doctor to see if there is an underlying physical cause for the symptoms. If none is found, your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist. Mental health professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers. Psychiatrists and other doctors may prescribe medications to treat mental illness. Most mental health providers have expertise in psychological and behavioral interventions. For some disorders, medications and psychological treatment work best together.

What treatments work best?

The most effective form of treatment for severe mental disorders is medication with therapy. There are many different types of treatment out there and while it may be frustrating for people as they take the time to find a treatment that works for them, they should never give up. It’s encouraged that you to work with a mental health professional to find what works best for you and don't be afraid to use it. Also remember that part of treatment is making healthy lifestyle decisions and developing positive relationships outside of your treatment.

Isn’t mental illness a rare disorder?

One in three Americans will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Psychiatric problems affect people of all ages, in all income groups, in urban and rural areas and in all religions. No one is immune to mental illness.

Does my medical insurance cover treatment?

Insurance policies vary greatly, but most private insurance and health maintenance organization (HMO) plans offer some mental health benefits. Unfortunately, many plans do not provide equal treatment for physical and mental illnesses. Contact your health insurance provider for details on your coverage for treatment of mental illnesses.

What is clinical depression?

Clinical depression is marked by intense feelings or thoughts of sadness and despair that lasts more than a few weeks and interrupts functioning in daily life. It is one of the most treatable mental illnesses but it requires professional attention, medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of these. As with many illnesses, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be. Unfortunately, largely due to the negative stigma associated with mental illness, many people feel or are told they should be able to "just get over it" and do not seek professional help.

Do children get mental illnesses?

Approximately 12 million children -- infants through 18 years old -- suffer from diagnosable psychiatric disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders. Serious depression, once thought to affect only adults, is now known to affect one in 50 children. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youngsters between the ages of 15 and 19; among this age group, 18 suicides occur daily.

What are the ten warning signs?

1. Marked personality change.
2. Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
3. Strange or grandiose ideas.
4. Excessive fears, worries and anxieties.
5. Prolonged depression, apathy, sadness or irritability.
6. Feelings of extreme highs and lows.
7. Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.
8. Excessive anger, hostility or violent behavior.
9. Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
10. Thinking or talking about suicide

Last Updated: 7/6/09