Psychologist and Psychiatrist

March 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm (Uncategorized)

Many people do not know the difference between what a psychiatrist is and what a psychologist is. I am going to attempt to clarify the differences betweeen the two.

A psychiatrist can presribe you medication for a mental disorder. There is no real test that the doctor can give you to determine wether or not you have a mental disorder. At the first appointment, he or she will ask you a series of questions. The first time I went to see a psychiatrist, he asked me questions such as how often do you cry or have you ever thought about suicide. This process usually takes about 30 minutes. They might also ask you about your past and what is going on right now in the present. The doctor will then decide if they want to put you on any medication at all. The first medicine I was put on was Lexapro for anxiety and depression. It takes about 1-2 weeks for it to actually start working, if it works at all. I have been on Lexapro for about a year now and it has definitely helped me out. I still get sad from time to time, but I don’t get down all of the time like I use to. The doctor should tell you that you should also be going to counseling because medicine will not fix your problems. After my initial appointment, I went to the same doctor every month so that he could make sure that the medicine was working for me. The first appointment was for about 45min and the apppointments after that were 15min. The main thing we focused on was the medicine.

The psychologist is a different story. A psychologist or a therapist can not prescribe you medication. They are there to help you work through your problems. It was so crazy when I first started going to counseling. I thought that I would feel better right away, but the opposite actually happened. I found myself becoming drained of my emotions. She explained to me that this was normal and eventually it will get better. I only went to that counselor for a month because I did not feel like I was connecting with her. You may or may not find the right match the very first time. I really loved my second counselor. She worked with me a lot on my anxiety issues and I felt like she had a deep understanding of where I was coming from.

I hope that this information helps. I had to have a friend tell me the difference between the two, so don’t feel bad if you don’t know. It never hurts to ask.


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