For Depression Treatment, How Do Psychologists And Psychiatrists Differ?

For Depression Treatment, How Do Psychologists And Psychiatrists Differ?

The psychology and psychiatry are often referred to as the same thing. But keeping in mind the depth of treatment and even the most minor of details, both the branches are far apart from each other. Before we start, let us discuss some main differences between the two fields. These differences are as below:

  1. The psychiatrists are the actual doctors, who study in the medical college while the psychologists are not medical doctors.
  2. As a medical doctor, the psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe medications like any other doctor. But this is not the case with psychologists.
  3. The psychologists handle the cases with basic problems and smaller case study, while the psychiatrists can take up any case irrespective of what the difficulty and complexity are.
  4. To meet a psychiatrist you need to meet GP, while no such restriction is applicable in the psychologist’s case.

People tend to confuse themselves between the abovementioned fields of mental sciences. The best psychiatrist and psychologist is what you will need to find in case of a medical illness.

For Depression Treatment, How Do Psychologists And Psychiatrists Differ?

Basically, the professionals related to both the fields study mental science and the illness related to behavior and feelings. The biggest difference lies in the medical training. The psychiatrists attend medical schools, they know the relation between the mental and physical factors. They can write and prescribe medicines to their patients.

We will discuss the difference in the context of depression.  But first of all, let us define depression. Depression is a sort of medical illness in which the patient feels negative things related to any situation that is presented in form of him.



They attend the medical college and then continue with a 1 or 2 long training as the general doctor.

They do 5 years training to diagnose the problem and treat the medical illness. They basically have at least 11 years experience.

As far as the depression is concerned, the psychiatrists can easily diagnose and treat the matter with the high level of professionalism.


They do not attend the medical school but pursue a training at the university for 6 years under the supervision of an experienced doctor.

The psychologist might complete a Ph.D. in the relevant field but this will not make him or her the medical doctor. And for this reason they can not prescribe the medications and diagnose the problems that easily in the complex depression cases.

Treatment that the can provide:


They can provide a versatile range of services to the depressed patients. These services or treatment might include:

  • Prescribing medicines.
  • A check on the general medical care, which might include checking physical effects.
  • Brain stimulation therapies.
  • Psychological treatment


They can provide the psychological treatment only, nothing else.

Conditions Treated:


They can handle the complex situations easily due to their medical training and time spent in the medical school. They can handle cases of severe depression where the person thinks so many negative things that he cannot find anything worthy in life. This high level of depression might trigger the person into committing suicide and this is where the psychiatrists jump in.


The psychologists will be able to tackle the problems related to psychology. The problems that the psychologists solve are all of the minor or moderate levels. They are able to handle the changes in behavior, low levels of depression and anxiety. They cannot manage the mental illness which a psychiatrist can handle.

Method to get an appointment:


You can have an appointment with psychiatrist though the GP, like any other medical offices in the state.


No GP approval or reference is required to meet and have an appointment with a psychologist. In Australia, GP reference is required to take an appointment with a psychologist. This is all written in the Medical Health Treatment Plan.

Working Together:

The medical treatments done in the mental health sector are of many kinds. There might be some conditions where depression will be of such a level that a psychiatrist and a psychologist have to work together to attain the maximum level of assurance and professional competence. They will help each other to diagnose the real reason behind the depression. They can refer the patient to a specific psychological training and nothing more.

Moreover, both these professionals might for a single team in a hospital to treat the patients with medical illness.

What professional should I see?

This is the most common question among the patients. Given the confusion regarding the role of both psychiatrist and psychologist, the patients usually ask which professional to visit during their illness. The best thing that you can do it to put forward your case and talk to the GP. He will send the normal case to the psychologist and an advanced case to the psychiatrists. In the end, it all depends on the uniqueness of your case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *