1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist

By

Updated October 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist
Answer:

The simplest way to describe the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist when it comes to treating depression is that one is a medical doctor, while the other is not.

A psychologist primarily aids the depressed patient through counseling and psychotherapy. He may hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) and be called "doctor," but is not a medical doctor (M.D.).

A psychiatrist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor, and while he may also perform psychotherapy, he can additionally prescribe medications and perform medical procedures such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

There is an exception to the above, however. Two states -- Louisiana and New Mexico -- do allow appropriately trained clinical psychologists to prescribe medication with certain limitations.

Related articles:

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Psychologists. Accessed April 18, 2011.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Depression

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.