Psychology vs. Psychiatry: What are their Differences?

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Many people confuse psychology with psychiatry. They have their similarities and differences. In this article, we focus on the differences that exist between these two professions. Keep on reading to find out more.

Psychology vs. Psychiatry 

What is Psychology? 

The American Psychological Association defines psychology as the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Psychologists are in charge of studying and understanding how humans think and behave and their mental processes, emotions, feelings, problem-solving,  and how these affect human behaviour. 

What is Psychiatry?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatry is “the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.” There are many reasons why a patient decides to visit a psychiatrist, whether it is panic attacks, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Psychiatrists are in charge of diagnosing patients and applying certain psychiatric treatments to them. 

Psychology and psychiatry are pretty similar, they both understand how the mind works and treat their patients by listening to them. But they have their differences too. The main difference and the one that we all know is that psychiatrists can prescribe medication whereas psychologists cannot. Here we will show you more differences between these two careers. 

Some Differences between These Careers

First of all, as we mentioned, psychologists and psychiatrists differ in the fact that one can prescribe medication and the other cannot. Psychiatrists are considered doctors. They follow a more neurological approach, which is why they treat the patient through medication. On the other hand, psychologists treat patients through therapy. There are many branches of psychology that can be followed, and each of them has different ways of approaching a problem. 

Another difference between psychology and psychiatry is their education. On the one hand, psychologists earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and the educational length is of about 8 to 10 years. Psychologists focus on cognition and behaviour. On the other hand, psychiatrists have to get a bachelor’s degree before attending medical school. The educational length is of about 12 years in total. They focus on biology and medicine. 

Another difference between these two careers is that they both treat different conditions. Psychologists treat patients with conditions that can be treated with psychological therapy. Among them are learning problems, behavioural problems, problem-solving, depression, and anxiety. In opposition, psychiatrists work with patients that need medical care and have complex conditions. Some of these are severe depression, severe anxiety, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. 

Moreover, psychologists are easier to see. To see a psychologist you don’t need a referral, you can only call one of your preference and ask them to see you. However, to see a psychiatrist, you need to have a referral from a doctor or a psychologist. Psychologists and psychiatrists are prone to work together, so it may be easier for you to find a psychiatrist. 

What Should I Study? 

More students are questioning whether to study psychology vs. psychiatry. But what to study is up to you. You should seat and question yourself about what you would enjoy the most by comparing and contrasting each of these professions. Each of these careers has its advantages and disadvantages, you just have to see which one is right for you. We hope that with this article you will be able to make a decision about what you want to study. 

Get more information about the degree in Psychology by filling in the form on this site and one of our advisors will contact you to answer any questions you may have. 

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