Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing, preventing, and treating mental disorders. This makes us immediately believe that we must “be crazy” to step on a psychiatrist when in reality, there are many conditions that can lead us to need the help or guidance of this specialist.
Another common question that arises when we feel bad emotionally is not knowing if we should go to a psychologist in charge of studying the mental processes, sensations, and behavior of the human being concerning their environment or to a psychiatrist. At FastlyHealwe invite you to put aside prejudices and find out which cases it is convenient not to go to this specialist; discover when you should go to the psychiatrist and why it is essential.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
There is widespread confusion that makes us believe that the psychologist is the specialist who helps us when “we are normal.” Still, we have problems, while the psychiatrist is for those people who “are crazy” or have some serious mental condition. Others believe that both specialties are similar and that the two professionals are doctors when they are not.
Before covering when it is recommended to go to the psychologist, it is essential to clarify the difference between both specialties.
What does psychiatry study, and what does psychology study?
Psychiatry is a medical specialization in charge of the study, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses, that is, those that affect our minds. Contrary to what most believe, not only can dementia affect the mind, conditions such as generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or chronic depression must be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist to guarantee our psychic well-being.
For its part, psychology is a specialty that studies the mental and emotional processes and the behavior of a person concerning the environment or social environment surrounding him. There is no scientific or empirical study of the patient’s mind; instead, diagnoses are made based on the patient’s behavior and emotions.
The psychiatrist is a doctor; the psychologist is not.
As we have explained previously, psychiatry is a branch of medicine. This means that a psychiatrist first studies medicine and then performs this specialization to become a professional researching and diagnosing conditions that affect the mind. This allows you to check your patients from a scientific approach, evaluating their symptoms and trying to prevent or control a particular psychiatric condition. Psychiatrists are empowered to prescribe medication if necessary.
On the other hand, psychologists study psychology at a school of this specialization, and after graduating, they may or may not choose more specific fields. They are not doctors and therefore cannot prescribe drugs to their patients; if they consider that a patient has a severe and profound disorder that requires medical treatment, this professional must refer the patient to a psychiatrist.
The goal in both disciplines is different.
The goal of a psychologist is to help his patient overcome those conditions that cause him emotional distress, allowing him to lead a more balanced and healthy life both mentally and emotionally. For this, you can use various tools for diagnosis such as tests, study tests, opt for psychoanalysis and find a way for the patient to resolve their internal conflicts.
On the other hand, the purpose of psychiatry is based on a medical approach; in this way, the clinical history of the patient is analyzed, exploratory studies, various tests, and tests are carried out, and all those events that have been able to lead to a disorder are taken into account psychic. The goal, in this case, is to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s life through treatment and medication, if necessary.
Both specialties should not be seen as antagonistic, much less; in many cases, psychologists and psychiatrists must work together to treat the mind and emotions of a patient and guarantee their well-being. Therefore they are not isolated disciplines.
So when should I go to the psychiatrist?
Once we have clarified the difference between the two specialties, it is essential to be clear about which cases merit the attention of a professional in psychiatry.
Suspicion of mental disorders
Any mental disorder must be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist; therefore, when conditions such as bipolarity, schizophrenia, neurosis, psychosis, or any other pathology that can affect the mind regardless of age are suspected, as is the case. of senile dementia, we must go to this professional.
Each mental pathology has its symptoms. However, some signs that can alert us that something is wrong are:
- Sudden emotional or behavioral changes. Going from extreme happiness to deep sadness, being irritable for no apparent reason, manifest an unstable emotional state. Outbreaks of anxiety or violence can signal a mental condition.
- Hallucinations or delusions Talk about people who do not exist, imagine situations that have not happened, and conflict to distinguish between the real and the fictional.
- Concentration problems, memory loss.
- Deep sadness that does not diminish over the weeks.
- Trouble sleeping
- In social isolation, the person gradually withdraws until wholly removed from their environment.
If in the past you have been diagnosed with depression or you suspect that the sadness that you have been feeling for weeks is getting more intense, affecting your daily disposition to perform everyday activities, it is advisable to visit a psychiatrist. Clinical or major depression may require medication that allows the patient to lead a stable and emotionally more beneficial lifestyle.
Generalized anxiety, characterized by intense and frequent concern for all those daily conditions beyond our control, can severely affect the lives of those who suffer from it, limiting their social relationships and the ability to lead an everyday life. If we feel that anxiety, nervousness, or panic invade us frequently and intensely, we should go to this specialist.
Panic attacks are characterized by a feeling of uncontrollable fear in which we believe that something terrible will inevitably happen. This makes us lose control of our emotions and, sometimes, even isolate ourselves from reality, prey to irrational fear. This condition requires psychiatric treatment because, in many cases, it warrants medication; in parallel, the help of a psychologist may also be needed.
If you have suffered in the past a traumatic event or condition that has affected you deeply, but still today you have not managed to resolve it; it is advisable to go to a psychiatrist. In principle, it is appropriate to visit a psychologist first; however, when there is no response or evolution in this type of consultation, you can consider calling a professional in psychiatry.
Whenever a psychologist refers us
The evolution may be evident after treating you with a psychologist, improving your mental and emotional state. However, there are times when the psychologist detects the existence of conditions that require diagnosis and treatment by a psychiatrist, referring us to this professional. In that case, following this recommendation is essential.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to When should I go to the psychiatrist, we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.