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Learn about mood, personality, anxiety, psychiatric, and psychotic disorders from expert Ankur Saraiya, MD.
So this is a question that causes a lot of confusion for people, and there is a way to boil it down to a simple understanding for what the difference is between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychologist goes to graduate school and has a graduate degree in psychology. In general psychologists will provide psychotherapy and psychological testing. Whereas a psychologist is someone who has attended and graduated from medical school, has a medical degree, and therefore is licensed to practice medicine, and can prescribe medications. So when a psychiatrist performs an evaluation they'll be better positioned to be able to evaluate whether there may be a physical or medical cause for somebody's psychological symptoms. And in addition, a psychiatrist can write prescriptions. So it's important to understand that with these different backgrounds, there are gonna be different things that each can provide. And just to point out one other detail is that psychiatrists can do psychotherapy even though they prescribe medications. So when you're looking for a psychiatrist it's important to know whether that particular psychiatrist is someone who just deals with medications or is someone who both prescribes medication and can provide psychotherapy.