Psychiatrists Vs Psychologists: What’s the Difference?

If you are looking for mental health services, you must also be wondering what type of mental health professional you may fix an appointment with. There are two major types of mental health professionals – psychiatrists and psychologists.

Indeed, you must have heard about psychiatrists and psychologists. Sometimes these are used interchangeably. But there is a distinct difference between them – which we will discuss shortly.

There are dedicated solutions for every type of mental health issue, including therapies, medications, and exercises. Then, according to your need, the doctor will assign specific tasks that you need to follow to recover from your end.

But first, let us understand what precisely a psychiatrist and a psychologist mean and how they help you recover from your mental health issues.

What is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is a discipline of medicine that studies the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health problems.

Simply put, psychiatrists help you recover from mental health problems from a biological perspective. They are trained to diagnose your problem using information about your genetics, neurology and medical history.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are the two medical degrees that psychiatrists generally possess.

What is a Psychologist?

Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists emphasize social and cultural factors more than biological factors. Psychologists shall determine negative thought patterns that affect your behavior and emotional well-being with certain exercises and tests. They will look into your brain’s subconscious to identify social and environmental factors that stress your mind.

Most psychologists suggest therapies and social exercises that help you overcome your mental health problems. Sometimes they might consult with other health professionals to study and understand your mental health issues details before issuing treatment.

Should I See a Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

If you are experiencing problems comprehending your thoughts and the same affecting your behavior, you might want to see a psychologist.

If you are suffering from complex conditions that may require medication, you should set an appointment with a psychiatrist.

For more complex issues, like depression, you shall require treatment from both types of doctors. You shall be given therapies and medication that you need to follow simultaneously to recover. The psychologist shall devise the therapies for you while the psychiatrist will take care of the medications.

The Differences Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist

The most significant difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who can prescribe medications. In contrast, most psychologists are not medical doctors and typically cannot prescribe medication.

The main difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the latter can prescribe medication while the former cannot. The psychiatrist is a board-certified medical doctor (MD), while the psychologist may have a doctorate but no medical degree.

Psychiatrist vs Psychologist 

To better understand their differences, follow the points below :


  • Board-certified medical doctor (MD)
  • Can diagnose psychological health issues
  • Can prescribe drugs and other medication
  • Can prescribe therapy

Clinical Psychologist

  • Board-certified in Clinical Psychology (PhD, or Psy.D.)
  • Can diagnose psychological issues
  • Can prescribe limited medication
  • Can prescribe therapies

What can a psychiatrist help with?

Both psychiatrists and psychologists help with mental health problems. But psychiatrists focus more on the medication side of the treatment. For example, they might ask for your psychological evaluation and test reports and suggest treatment options eventually.

Here‘s a glimpse at the most common mental health issues that a psychiatrist can help you recover from –

  • Anxiety
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse disorders

It is not absolutely necessary to take medication if you see a psychiatrist. You can always choose therapies over medications if your condition is not severe.

Initially, the psychiatrist will diagnose any neuro-developmental issues causing emotional and behavioural changes, including genetic, familial and educational factors.

The doctor may assign you group therapy or refer you to a more suitable practitioner.

What issues can a psychologist help with?

A psychologist will help you recover from mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction or substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A psychologist can also help you manage stress, face emotional problems, deal with grief, and fix relationship issues.

Since the care provided by psychologists is non-medicated, your recovery period can last several weeks. However, depending on the severity of your issue, your treatment period might extend up to a whole year.

On the bright side, psychological treatments are long-lasting results and there are simple exercises that you can keep performing to ensure more stability after your treatment.

What treatments can a psychiatrist provide?

Here’s a glimpse at the treatments provided by a psychiatrist –

  • Psychotherapy
  • Drugs or medication
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy among brain stimulation therapies

According to the need, they might also suggest lifestyle changes like recalibrating the sleep cycle, abstaining from nicotine and alcohol, etc.

Before assigning any treatment, the psychiatrist will inform you about the treatment. You will know how the treatment works, observe progress, what to avoid, and when to notify the clinic. Allevia Medical Center provides mental illness treatment in Qatar.

What do psychologists do to promote mental health?

Psychologists offer early intervention and wellness services, such as behavioural health screening and recovery, to help people avoid and manage physical trauma and a variety of mental and behavioural health and substance abuse disorders.

How therapists differ from Psychiatrists & Psychologists

The main difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist is that the former cannot prescribe medications but can recommend medical examinations and treatment options.

And the main difference between a therapist and a psychologist is that the former focuses more on providing optimum therapy than on investigating the psychological issues.

To work in mental health clinics, therapists need master’s degrees and approval from their licencing bodies. Therapists diagnose mental illnesses and devise treatment plans.

Therapists work in various settings, including offices, hospitals, treatment centres, and group homes. Play therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, animal-assisted treatment, dialectical behavioural therapy, and many other types of therapy are also available.


Are you Struggling with Mental Health?

If you face mental health issues, you must reach out for help immediately. Allevia Medical Center has the best psychiatrist in Qatar to help you recover from any trauma. Our psychiatry department also provides the best psychologists and counselors in Qatar.

Book your appointment now for online psychiatrist consultation and address your fears and problems!

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