Psychiatrists and Psychologists are both experts to deal with anxiety. Sometimes only a psychologist or a psychiatrist can provide all of the treatments for people with anxiety disorder. In most cases, both of these professionals are needed for combined medicine and psychotherapy to treat anxiety. Today we will discuss “Psychiatrist Vs. Psychologist for Anxiety disorder.”
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety may be treated as a healthy day-to-day emotion, but when a person feels a disproportionate amount of anxiety daily or regularly, it can become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders cause excessive nervousness, worry, stress, and apprehension.
Is Anxiety Curable?
The short answer to this most asked question is no. Anxiety can’t be cured by just using medication or psychotherapy. But anxiety can be controlled and dialed down to a level where it’s not exhausting or disturbing for the patient to continue their daily tasks. Therapy and controlled lifestyle and certain habits can help patients deal with their anxiety and help them lead a peaceful life.
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Negative Effects of Anxiety on the Human Body:
- A sense of doom or an impending danger
- Panic attacks
- Pounding heart
- Breathing problems (such as hyperventilating)
- Loss of libido
- Upset stomach
- Extreme fatigue
- Increase in blood pressure
- Muscle aches and other pain
- Excessive sweating
- Trembling hands and feet
- Feeling constant nervousness, tension, and restlessness.
- Having uncontrollable thoughts
Types of Anxiety:
Primarily there are 6 types of ‘anxiety disorder’ where anxiety is effective more or less-
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
Symptoms include feeling anxious on most days, worrying about a range of different things, generally for 6 months or more.
Symptoms include an intense fear of being criticized, embarrassed, and humiliated in small and everyday situations, e.g., speaking publicly, eating publicly, being assertive and active at work, or making small talk.
Symptoms include being extremely fearful of an object or an activity and going to great lengths to avoid it, such as having an injection, traveling by plane. There can be a lot of different phobias.
Symptoms include having intense, overwhelming panic attacks and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms. People may also experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and excessive perspiration for having panic attacks. Panic attacks can be traumatic to the patients, and they often feel as much pain as having a heart attack. If a person suffers from frequent panic attacks or persistently fearing one for more than a month, they are clinically diagnosed with panic disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
Symptoms include having unwanted or intrusive thoughts of fear that may cause anxiety. These thoughts and behavior may primarily seem as just irrational or silly, and they might try to prevent these fears by doing a certain behavior or work. The most common OCD seen is that people may feel like they constantly need to wash their hands in fear of germs.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
This often happens when a person experiences a traumatic experience such as war, assault, accident, disaster Symptoms include restlessness and anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks of the event. A person is generally diagnosed with PTSD when these symptoms for at least a month.
Many other types of anxiety can be found in different types of patients. Truthfully, a patient’s personal experience and mental state can identify the cause of their anxiety and the certain way to treat it.
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Who is a Psychiatrist?
A medical doctor, an M.D. or D.O. specializing in mental health, including substance disorders, is called a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are qualified to access both mental and physical aspects of a certain psychological problem.
According to clinical definition, a doctor who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to diagnosing, preventing, studying, and treating mental disorders, is called a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists have immense training in a bio-physio-social approach to the assessment and management of mental illness.
What do Psychiatrists do?
Psychiatrists diagnose, treat, and prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders by using medication, neuromodulation, psychotherapy and trained to perform procedures such as electroconvulsive therapy. A psychiatrist also finds and understands links between physical and mental conditions.
A psychiatrist diagnoses and treats various mental health issues which include-
- Patients with severe mental illness and conditions like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, hallucinations, insomnia, and sleeping problems, addiction, including gambling, drugs, alcohol, and certain behaviors, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, obsessional thoughts, violent outbursts, thoughts of hurting others, constantly feeling on edge, agitated, or unable to relax, negative thinking, inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, etc. issues are diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist.
These mental illnesses need a lot of attention to therapy and medication, so it is suitable for a psychiatrist to treat it.
- On the other hand, patients with severe disorders of often described as odd behavioral patterns or negative attitudes such as- eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), body image issues, delusional thinking, severe stress, worry, or anxiety, memory problems, neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), etc. can also be treated by a psychiatrist.
These disorders are practically based on psycho-therapy and other intense therapy measures. So, it is required for a psychiatrist to be in touch with a patient when treating any of these disorders.
Who is a Psychologist?
Psychologist studies normal and abnormal behavioral, cognitive, emotional, mental and perceptual states and they observe, interpret, record, and experiment with how an individual interacts with another in different social environments.
A person holding a four-year university degree and often with a post-graduation degree in applied psychology (or another relevant subject) can become a psychologist. Psychologists usually work with a certain team in schools, prisons, or clinics.
What do Psychologists do?
A psychologist’s job is highly research-based, and they are often seen collaborating with social workers. They are the observers of human behavior by which they hope and study to understand different behaviors and disorders by analyzing our actions and decisions. Some of their work may include-
- Conduct studies that include human behaviors and brain’s functionality (Neuropsychology)
- Develop and carry out non-medication treatment plans
- Collaborate with doctors and physicians for social work and overall mental healthcare and wellness
- Collect information through surveys, tests, interviews, observations, and other methods
- Use their knowledge to increase understanding of individuals and groups
- Develop programs which encourage in mental health awareness in school, colleges, workplaces, etc.
- Identify, diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, etc.
- A psychologist does psycho-analysis and psychotherapy to conclude and interpret one’s mental condition and behavioral pattern.
- A psychologist finds links, behavioral patterns, and connections to personality, mental condition, and decision-making of different personnel in different conditions, situations, and environments.
What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
- The first and major difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist is that Psychiatrists are clinically trained to prescribe patients medication regarding mental health problems. Still, a psychologist is not allowed by the law to prescribe any form of medication to any of their patients (APA).
- Psychiatrists are labeled as medical doctors, and they have an advanced degree in the medical sector, too, whereas psychologists have an advanced degree like a Ph.D. or PsyD.
- A psychiatrist can use both medication and talk therapy and other kinds of treatments for treating a patient with a mental disorder. Still, a psychologist can’t treat their patients in any other way than normal counseling and psychotherapy.
- Psychiatrists use methods like psychological tests, one-on-one evaluations. Lab tests to rule out physical causes of symptoms for diagnosing their patients. On the other hand, a psychologist uses one-on-one with the therapist, family therapy, group therapy to diagnose their patients.
- Psychiatrists have any of the two-degree needs to become a Psychiatrist, Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Psychologists need to complete graduation in school in any of these two degrees, such as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and then pursue doctorate training.
Whom should I consult for Anxiety, a Psychiatrist, or a Psychologist?
Truthfully speaking, it solely depends on the patient on whether to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist as it depends on the patient’s condition and their depth of anxiety. As anxiety is a mental disorder, it can many shapes, and a patient’s anxiety may differ from another patient’s depending on their situation, experience, and ability to cope with stress.
Anxiety can take many forms. Someone can have anxiety, but it may not bother them that much, and they can lead a normal life at the same time.
On the contrary, many can be greatly affected by anxiety, and their normal lives can be hindered. They can have many difficulties performing and handling day-to-day activities, have panic attacks, and other extreme symptoms.
Moreover, a patient’s anxiety can take a form by which it is irritable not to cure, but if counseled and taken care of and attended to, their anxiety can dial down, and they can lead a peaceful life. So, everyone’s experience and situation with anxiety are unique and different.
How do Mental Health Experts deal with Anxiety?
As psychologists can only perform psycho-therapy and counseling, they can be recommended to attend to mild anxiety. They can help the patients move past a minor case of anxiety and advise them to take up healthy lifestyle and habits which help them return to their normal selves. They can also observe a patient’s behavioral patterns and pinpoint the root of their problems and provide solutions.
In case of severe anxiety and constant panic attacks, stress and restlessness, it is better to consult and contact a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist. It is very important to treat severe anxiety with more attention as it can gravely affect the patient’s future.
A psychiatrist can treat a patient with severe anxiety with more effectiveness because he can prescribe medication and therapy. Medication is deemed more effective and can help the patient recover fast from his/her condition.
Although in a neutral sense, a patient may consult a psychiatrist and psychologist at the same time to treat their anxiety to the fullest extent, as the psychologist can take out daily and regular psychotherapy sessions, and the psychiatrist can help the patient with medication.
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