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Psychologist Versus Psychiatrist: Who Is The Right Person To Help You With Your Need For Mental Health Counseling?

by Stephen Silva

If the stresses in your life have made it harder than it should be to be happy, stable or otherwise fulfilled, mental heath counseling is an option that has helped many people to improve the quality of their lives. However, choosing the right person for your needs isn't always easy and it's important to be sure that you have the opportunity to receive the applicable care from the the most appropriate mental health expert for your needs and expectations. Therefore, the information shared in the following sections will be quite useful when you need to be sure that you are choosing properly, since mental health counseling is often a bit of an umbrella term.

Knowing What To Expect When You Are Seeing A Psychologist

It's quite common to be unclear as to the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist and, unfortunately, there are misunderstandings about both professions. In general, a psychologist is a mental health professional who engages in a variety of therapeutic services, but in most states cannot provide you with prescriptions. That includes both anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. That person is likely to help patients with personal issues in their lives and, in some instances, a physician might be willing to consult with a psychologist to provide prescription medications.

However, that is not an absolute and, if doing so is possible in your area, each determination would be made on a case-by-case basis. If that option is made available to you, you might be asked to see your prescribing physician more often than you would otherwise and some patients have found that only certain medications can be provided in that manner.

Perhaps It's A Better Idea For You To See A Psychiatrist

In comparison, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor and is often the person to see when medication is assumed to be necessary. For instance, a person suffering from schizophrenia, a major depressive disorder, or similar concerns is often under the care of a psychiatrist. He or she might start out having regular sessions with the psychiatrist, but those visits might not continue to be necessary after specific improvements were made and if the medication was having the expected results.

In addition, a psychiatrist is in the unique position of having the mental heath training to diagnose the aforementioned issues and the medical knowledge to be able to monitor the patients for any side effects, improvements, etc. As with the use of any type of medication, that is essential, since the benefits of that protocol need to be weighed any negative results associated with it. It is also useful to remember that many people don't need medication and even a limited amount of mental health counseling has frequently been able to facilitate recovery or a reduction in symptoms.

In conclusion, mental health counseling is often useful when personal issues, stresses, etc. have resulted in a reduced quality of life. Since there are so many different professionals in that field and the roles of psychologists and psychiatrists are often misunderstood, it's best to be aware of the above details. Reach out to a business like the Community Counseling Group for more advice.