Though the ancient Greeks laid down the foundation of psychology, the subject attracted immense popularity in the 20th century. After the first and second World Wars, shell shock became a genuine issue. And ever since, there has been an increased awareness about mental health issues. However, because the term and subject (of psychology) are abstract, many people have questions about the discipline.
One of the most frequent thematic questions pertains to the difference between psychology and psychiatry. People suffering from ill mental health don’t know which professional does what and when to visit either-or. Moreover, some individuals may even struggle to make a professional choice between the two. Therefore, let this article be a guide to help you differentiate the two careers. Here are five differences between psychiatry and psychology.
The role of nurses
Nurses play a vital role in healthcare, as we know. However, do they play an equally important role in the mental health field? The chances are little to none that you will run into a nurse at the psychologist’s office. Psychologists do not necessarily need nurses working with them because most of their work revolves around cognitive and behavioral modification.
However, psychiatrists almost always have nurses working with them to assist them with medical treatment. Administering medicines, checking vitals, and subduing hostile patients are just some of the duties of a psychiatric nurse. With the change in the education system, more nurses are gaining their certification and entering psychiatric nursing. With a post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online degree, nurses have a better chance of scoring high-paying jobs in mental health areas. In fact, they can even opt to work independently after acquiring a state license.
Psychologists believe that behavior, emotions, and mood changes can come through various kinds of talk therapy. Psychotherapy has proven successful in several cases; therefore, psychologists do not encourage medication unless the situation demands it. Moreover, because they are not medical professionals, psychologists are not legally capable of prescribing medicines other than OTC drugs.
On the other hand, psychiatrists who have medical qualifications are more likely to prescribe medicines and use therapy as a secondary form of treatment.
Psychologists use a book known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 5, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and several tests and scoring sheets to classify certain mental conditions and illnesses. On the other hand, psychiatrists also use the International Classification of Diseases – 10 (ICD10), the DMS, and other diagnostic tests. Therefore, psychiatrists often use more tools to diagnose mental illnesses and ensure that patients receive the treatment they need based on accurate diagnostic assessments. This isn’t to say that the latter provides a better diagnosis. Still, it merely highlights that their professional approach is different.
An incorrect diagnosis may have serious repercussions. The wrong treatment can harm patients and end up making them worse.
The cases they deal with
Psychiatrists generally deal with biopsychological cases including, schizophrenia and other conditions that have a biological origin in some way or another. They can also deal with complex psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression, if patients experience signs and symptoms.
Though psychologists try to deal with advanced issues, they often have to refer patients to a psychiatrist if the problem is neurological. Psychologists are better equipped to deal with behavioral and cognition-based conditions that don’t require extensive medical know-how.
The time it takes to become a professional
T takes about four to give yours to become a medical doctor. After that, individuals who intend to become psychiatrists have to practice as a general physician for a few years before they can specialize in a field. This process can take long as an additional four years. Therefore, all in all, it can take nine to ten years to become a qualified psychiatrist who is ready to practice.
On the other hand, individuals who want to become psychologists have to complete a primary college education that takes four years. They can then begin practicing and as independent therapists after acquiring relevant experience or a master’s degree. Therefore, the professional route is much shorter for psychologists. Some states require licensure, but that doesn’t take long to attain.
Both psychologists and psychiatrists play a crucial role in treating patients with mental health problems. However, there are some critical differences between both professions. These include the scope of work, ability to prescribe medication, the time it takes to become a professional, etc. Which professional is better is subjective. While a psychologist primarily treats behavioral problems, a psychiatrist also treats neurological conditions. This simple difference should help you decide whose door to knock on if you have a mental health query. Or the route to take to quench you have professional inclinations.