If you’ve identified that you want to seek professional mental help, that’s an excellent first step to a happier, healthier you. Now, you’re wondering what type of medical professional you should seek: a psychiatrist or a psychologist. While these professions sound similar, they come from very distinctive educational backgrounds and practices. And while each plays a specific role and are beneficial for your mental health, a psychiatrist offers many services that psychologists cannot. If you’re stuck between the two, here are some of the benefits of seeing a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist:
- Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors. They attend medical school, complete a 4-year residency training at a medical facility and undergo extensive psychotherapy training.
- In the world of mental health, psychiatrists are qualified to diagnosed mental disorders. Psychologists do not diagnose, but they can treat based on a psychologist’s recommendations and diagnosis as well as make recommendations to a psychiatrist.
- Psychiatrists can prescribe medications because their knowledge focuses on the chemical imbalances within the brain. This is especially helpful if you have mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety and other conditions that can be leveled out with prescription medication. With the exception of New Mexico and Louisiana, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, and Guam (as well as in the military) psychologists do not prescribe medication.
If you tell your primary care doctor that you want to seek mental help, they may refer you to a psychiatrist, especially if it’s a concern of behavioral patterns. If you’re already meeting with a psychologist about your mental and emotional state, there may come a time that they refer you to a psychiatrist for a clinical diagnosis and to prescribe and monitor medication. In this way, psychologists and psychiatrists work together to get patients the best care. Psychologists can work through a patient’s emotional issues, psychiatrists can help achieve a balance in the patient’s chemical body and mind.
If the psychiatrist prescribes medication, he will want to monitor the effects of these medications, so now you’ll be seeing two professionals. If you don’t want to have to speak to two professionals, it may be best to go straight to a psychiatrist. Be sure to advise all your medical professionals of any medications being prescribed to you.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health and pain management contact Psy-Visions. We offer comprehensive, responsive care tailored to your individual needs. Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Stracks provides customized treatment that addresses the underlying physical and emotional issues causing your symptoms. Call (203) 405-1745 today and get the supportive care you need to help you resume control of your life or use our online form to request a consultation with Dr. Stracks.