Are you unable to diagnose or understand what you are feeling?
It is better to get a professional diagnosis and then a proper treatment to deal with such a condition.
We often misdiagnose or do self-treatment to resolve mental issues on our own, which could have potentially disastrous consequences.
We ignore certain crucial symptoms which may seem inadequate but are actually leading to more serious mental issues.
Therefore, it is important to know what kind of treatment you require and which specialist you should visit.
In this article, I will tell you the difference between psychologist and psychiatrist, and nine different types of psychiatrists.
So, let’s begin.
Difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Both psychologists and psychiatrists treat mental health conditions but there are few differences between them. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who does proper diagnosis of the illness, prescribe medication, and also provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness. They may refer to other therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. On the other hand, psychologists are not medical doctors and can’t prescribe medications. They treat patients through counseling and psychotherapy.
A psychiatrist specializes in mental health and understands both physical and mental health conditions, and is able to make links between them. They can treat complex mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders etc. Whereas, psychologists can treat mental health conditions or symptoms such as behavioral issues, assessment of learning difficulties, depression or anxiety, etc.
Psychiatrists and psychologists often work together because the diagnosis may shift from one person to the other. They both work in a mental health team in a hospital or clinic.
9 Types of Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists are medical doctors and then they do further specialization in their choice of field. They get additional training other than the residency and education they did for general psychiatry. Psychiatrists get command through getting education related to their field of specialization, giving more clinical hours and doing residency. Following are the nine types of specialized psychiatrists.
1. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Child and adolescent psychiatrists, also known as pediatric psychiatrists, work with younger populations’ mental health issues. These children are not older than 18. It might be possible that some children inherit some mental health issues from their parents’ genetics. Other children may be survivors of some kind of trauma that led to certain mental health issues. At this age, many medications of psychiatric illnesses are unsafe for children and teens therefore; they need proper psychiatric care under a specialized psychiatrist.
2. Geriatric Psychiatrist
Geriatric means elderly, so these psychiatrists work with elderly patients. As they get older, their disorders or mental condition deteriorates. Such patients have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease mostly. These mental health issues come with additional mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety; therefore a specialized geriatric psychiatrist can treat them in a better manner. Geriatric psychiatrist either works with the elderly patients in private practice, old homes or residential treatment centers.
3. Addiction Psychiatrists
Addiction psychiatrists are trained to treat addicts. Such addicts suffer from substance abuse which leads to additional mental health disorders. Such patients might have addictions to sex, food, gambling, or compulsive lying. Addiction psychiatrists can uncover the underlying causes of addiction and also if the person had pre-existing mental health disorders. They also prescribe medicines that help in coping with withdrawal of drugs.
4. Forensic Psychiatrists
Forensic psychiatrists are specialized to find the mental health disorders that lead to criminal activity and also provide therapies to the inmates. They work closely with criminals and the court system. They are also called for evaluating criminals for their mental conditions and whether an inmate is suitable for trial or requires institutionalization.
When you are involved in an accident or have certain disease that affects your brain, there are certain mental illnesses or nervous system problems that incurs. A neuropsychiatrist deals with such mental illnesses. They know all about brain issues and how its function affects a person’s mental health.
6. Organizational Psychiatrist
Organizational psychiatrists specialize in workplace behavioral issues. They focus on helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance. They also play their part by helping the companies to develop policies and procedures that relate to providing good mental health conditions.
7. Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners are not purely psychiatrists. They are not medical doctors but registered nurses. They undergo extensive training, education, and residency to be able to work as a psychiatrist under the supervision of a medical doctor.
8. Emergency Psychiatrists
These psychiatrists mostly work in the emergency or crisis intervention department of the hospitals. They mostly deal with suicidal patients, victims of domestic violence or a client who has overdosed. Such patients and situations are extremely stressful so these psychiatrists are trained in such a manner to deal with it. It is not easy to cope with these circumstances for long periods.
9. Multi-Specialty Psychiatrists
To broaden the scope of practice, some psychiatrists specialize in more than one area of psychiatry. They mostly practice general psychiatry other than their specialty. They do this to cater to as many patients as possible. In this way, they are able to work with different patients, on different venues and may also run a private practice.
Though there are specialized psychiatrists available, there are still times that you are not able to reach the desired specialized psychiatrist. This mostly happens when you are located away from the big hospitals or conditions like recent pandemic situations of COVID. In order to get help to improve your mental health conditions, you can opt for online therapy forums. BetterHelp is one such online therapy forum that provides affordable and convenient therapy sessions online. They provide access to thousands of licensed professional therapists. They offer individual, couple and teenage counseling through live sessions on their platform. Do check them if you are feeling stressed or your mental health is at stake.