What is Psychology?
Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties, joining this way the broader neuro-scientific group of researchers. As a social science, it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.
What Is Psychiatry?
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.
People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attack, frightening hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing "voices." Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.
The three main differences between psychiatrists and psychologists are:
Psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychologists are not.
- Psychiatrists prescribe medication, psychologists can't.
- Psychiatrists diagnose illness, manage treatment and provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness. Psychologists focus on providing psychotherapy (talk therapy) to help patients.
Many people get psychiatrists and psychologists confused with each other.
Both psychiatrists and psychologists understand how the brain works, our emotions, feelings and thoughts. Both can treat mental illness with psychological treatments (talking therapies).
However, psychiatrists attend medical school and become medical doctors before doing specialist training in mental health. Because they are doctors, psychiatrists understand the links between mental and physical problems. They can also prescribe medications.