Psychiatrist vs Psychologist


Psychiatrists are qualified physicians who have undergone additional intensive training to specialise in diagnosing and giving appropriate treatment including drugs to patients who suffer from psychosomatic ailments related to minor or major brain malfunction caused by various factors including chemical imbalance in the brain.

A psychiatrist will look at the person in totality and first decide whether the symptoms affecting the patient is caused by any problem related to the brain and come within his/her realm or is caused by other medical condition or medication, which require other specialists. The psychiatrist is capable of pinpointing the source of a ‘psychiatric’ or ‘mental’ problem and treat the person accordingly. He/she will direct the patient to other specialists if the case does not come within the purview of psychiatry.

You can learn more about psychiatrists from an excellent write-up by GPPA. Although this article is written for those in the US, most of it applies to other countries as well.


Whereas psychiatrists are qualified physicians who undergo additional intensive training to specialise in diagnosis and treatment of various health disorders mentioned above, psychologists need not necessarily be medically qualified, but possess required academic qualification on the science dealing with psychological or psychosomatic problems. Psychologists without primary medical qualification can administer psychotherapy but when administering drugs is needed, they may refer the case to a psychiatrist. Clinical psychologists study people’s emotional behaviour and the background factors that led to the current crisis in their emotional life, and help them overcome or manage their problems.

In many cases, psychosomatic problems manifest only when psychotherapy had been neglected in the initial stages. Psychologists with a compassionate heart can and do play a great role in alleviating human suffering.

WebMD gives a lucid comparative narrative of psychiatry and psychology.

Click any of the subheads below to have a general idea of other common medical systems and specialisations.


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