Types of Mental Health Professionals: Which May Be Best for You?

Different types of mental health professionals can help you deal with mental, emotional, and relationship issues. Many of these professionals assist patients through therapy sessions, and some can prescribe medication. The distinctions between the various types of mental health professionals are the services they offer. 

However, it can be confusing when determining the type of professional you need. What is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist? Find out what kind of care and services different mental health professionals provide.

Psychiatrist: The Most Educated and Comprehensive Mental Health Professional
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Psychiatry is the study of behavior and the mind as well as the brain and nervous system. A psychiatrist can treat your mental health issues with a combination of medical and psychological methods.  

Psychiatrists have either a degree in doctorate of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, they will need to complete two years of medical school, two years of clinical rotations, and four years of psychiatry residency. 

Once they complete their educational requirements, they will need to pass a national test to get a medical license in their state. Some locations will also require a state exam. Then, they will need to seek board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or the American Board of Medical Specialties. 

As trained medical doctors, they can prescribe psychiatric medication, perform physical exams, and request laboratory tests. They also practice psychotherapy or talking therapy. 

Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental illness through counseling and analysis. They can determine if someone’s issues present from a physical illness, psychiatric condition, or both because of their knowledge in:

·      General medicine.

·      Biochemistry.

·      Biology.

·      Neurology.

·      Pharmacology.

·      Psychology.

These psych doctors look at abuse, disease, and substance use. They evaluate your personal history for events that caused emotional or physical trauma. 

On average, treatment with a psychiatrist can cost $100 to $200 per session. They are one of the highest cost mental health professionals.If you do not need medication or feel like you can resolve your issues through therapy counseling, a psychologist may be a more affordable option.

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