ZocdocAnswersHow do a psychology and psychiatry consultation differ?

Question

How do a psychology and psychiatry consultation differ?

Which should I have for anxiety?

Answer

There is a great difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychologist is a professional with a PhD in psychology that is trained to diagnose different mental conditions and diseases and provide special non-pharmacological (no medications) therapy including cognitive-behavioral therapy, and sometimes psychotherapy. A psychiatrist is a professional with an MD who has done 4 years of extra training in the field of mental illness and is trained to diagnose and treat (often with medications) mental disease. What type of specialist you choose to see depends on your type of ailment and what you have tried so far. Anxiety is a mental condition that could be treated by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a primary care physician. Sometimes, anxiety can be helped by a simple once per day medication. Because you have not yet been evaluated, I suggest that you first schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Anxiety is something that most general doctors treat every day. The two of you can discuss treatment for your anxiety and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of referral. If your doctor wants you to see a specialist, then he or she may make a recommendation to you about what would be most helpful. Good luck.

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