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What's the exact difference between a Psychologist, a Psychiatrist and a Neurologist?

I know the gist of the differences between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist...but it would really help to know the exact differences {including average salary differences} between these three branches. #psychiatry #psychology #counseling #neuroscience #medical #doctor #medicine


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John’s Answer

While a psychologist and a psychiatrist work in the area of patient assessment and counseling Samyukta, the job description, education and training are very different. For example, a psychologist typically completes a master's or doctoral degree, while psychiatrists must have a medical degree. Neurologists are medical doctors who specialize in treating diseases that afflict the nervous system.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

PSYCHOLOGIST PhD – studies the human mind through lab tests, surveys and interviews. A psychologist is someone who has at least an undergraduate degree in psychology, which is the study of the brain in terms of human behavior and personality. Through counseling and experimentation, psychologists work to promote safety, understanding, and good mental health. Their research helps us understand behavior, memory and mental health disorders. Psychologists work in a variety of settings with individual patients, businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, prisons, communities, the government, the military, and many others. Most psychology professions require an advanced degree, such as a master's or a doctorate. During their training, psychologists choose an area of specialization. To work, a psychologist must often be licensed at the state or national level.

PSYCHIATRIST MD – They specialize in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of mental health problems. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental illnesses. They often employ individual or group therapy to gain insight into a patient's past and find coping methods to help patients address their own problems. Some cases may require medications or hospitalization. Psychiatrists who work with hospitalized patients collaborate with other professionals to design treatment plans and monitor progress. To be effective at counseling patients, psychiatrists need strong communication skills. They should be knowledgeable about psychology and sociology, which help them identify behavioral patterns. Psychiatrists may need to interview individuals closely related to a patient, such as parents, children, or spouses.

NEUROLOGIST MD – The working environment of a neurologist is usually contained within a hospital, clinic or research lab. In clinical environments, neurologist responsibilities will involve spending time examining patients and diagnosing neurological disorders such as dementia, stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by way of appropriate testing followed by subsequent treatment. Neurological researchers tend to work in universities and university hospitals where they contribute to clinical trials and research projects and present their findings in medical journals.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

PSYCHOLOGIST PhD – There are several degrees needed to become a psychologist, beginning with a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs in psychology are fairly common and cover the basics of the field and the history of the profession, although some graduate-level programs may accept bachelor's degrees in other areas as well. After completing a bachelor's degree, you will need to find and enroll in a master's degree program aligned with your career goals. Most master's-level psychology degree programs are designed to prepare you for doctoral programs, however some may be designed to lead to careers in research. A master's in general psychology can prepare you for whatever path you may choose, while an individual planning to obtain a master's in industrial and organizational psychology will likely stop there and enter the workforce. A prospective psychologist's education from here will depend on their intended path. Ph.D.s in Psychology programs are often, though not exclusively, meant for those planning to go into research and scholarly work. Since Ph.D. programs often lead to research careers, they may have more specific degree titles available, such as social psychology or cognitive psychology.

PSYCHIATRIST MD – Becoming a psychiatrist requires many years of schooling, especially at the graduate level. Individuals must first attend an undergraduate program, where they may choose to major in psychology or a related subject. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum requirement for medical school is three years of undergraduate study, although most medical students have earned a bachelor's degree. You must next complete medical school, which typically lasts four years. The first two years are the pre-clinical years that cover major systems of the body and diseases and introduce students to the practice of medicine. The final two years, known as the clinical years, place students in healthcare facilities performing clinical rotations (sometimes known as clerkships) under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. Psychiatry is a required rotation. After completing medical school, individuals enter a residency program in psychiatry. These programs include intensive work experience in the major specialties and techniques used in psychiatry. In the first year, residents learn essential skills, such as interviewing, treating, and diagnosing. As residents advance through a program, they develop advanced skills and are given increased responsibility.

NEUROLOGIST MD – Aspiring neurologists must first attend college and then medical school. During their undergraduate years, the neurologists of tomorrow often major in a traditional science such as biology, chemistry or even biomedical science so that they have a foundation for moving on to medical school. Some colleges may even offer a pre-med concentration that will incorporate specific science courses that provide an even more appropriate grounding for medical school. Medical schools must be accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medication Education, and admission into these schools is highly competitive with applicants needing to score highly on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Schools also typically require applicants to attend an interview, and their personality and perceived leadership qualities can be a key factor in securing a place. A degree from a medical school usually takes four years to earn, and towards the end of the program candidates must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Once the examination is complete, a licensed doctor can participate in an internship for two to three years and/or enter a neurology residency that can run for around three or four years and will typically feature rotations in subspecialties such as child neurology, neuro-oncology and behavioral neurology. Beyond the residency, further specialization can be achieved by undertaking a clinical fellowship program in neurology.

SALARY OUTLOOK

PSYCHOLOGIST PhD – As many continue to turn to psychologists for issues such as depression, addiction, mental disorders and relationship problems, demand for clinical psychologists continues to rise. The average Psychologist - Ph.D salary in the United States is $103,500 as of May 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $93,000 and $116,200. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

PSYCHIATRIST MD – After achieving licensure, many certified psychiatrists work in hospitals and private practices. Playing an important role in patient care, certified psychiatry is a career field that is expected to have a positive job outlook over the next decade. The average Psychiatrist salary in the United States is $228,500 as of May 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $204,750 and $255,800. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

NEUROLOGIST MD – Individuals in this career research and study the biological aspects of the nervous system. Job growth for all medical scientists is expected to be faster than the average growth of all occupations, mainly because of the aging population, scientific discoveries, and more prevalent diseases. The average Neurologist salary in the United States is $256,800 as of May 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $224,400 and $301,500. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

So what does all this mean Samyukta? Well, it’s safe to assume there will be more than enough jobs for physicians, though the jobs may not be in ideal locations and the workloads may increase. Don’t expect stress levels to go down in the physician community any time soon, but regardless of the stress associated with a physician career, most physicians will continue to feel that the rewards outweigh the frustrations.

Hope this was Helpful Samyukta

Thank you, John!! This was very, very helpful! I am so grateful to you for spending so much time in answering my question. The world needs more helpful people like you. You are good at this. Thanks once again. Samyukta S.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. John Frick

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Bri’s Answer

Hi,
The difference between psychologist, psychiatrist, and neurologist is their education background, training, and role in treatment.
A psychiatrist have a medical degree with some advanced qualifications from residency and specialty in psychology. They use talk therapy, medications, and other treatments.
A psychologist have a degree of an PhD or PsyD. They use the same treatments as psychiatrist but act as a consultant with other healthcare providers or study therapy.
A neurologist have a medical degree with some advanced qualifications from residency and specialty in neurology. They specialize in diseases and conditions of the nervous system like a stroke or epilepsy.
If you need more information I would research some more. Hope this helps, Good luck!

Thanks for your advise Bri!! :D Samyukta S.

No problem :) Bri Scott

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Dr. Ray’s Answer

Dear Samyukta,

The previous answers to your question are accurate and detailed. I only want to ad one small point. Psychiatrists, in the U.S. anyway, prescribe medication almost exclusively; very few do any kind of talk therapy. Psychologists on the other hand do talk therapy and psychological testing. Since they are not physicians they do not have the legal authority to prescribe medication. If you enjoy talking to people and helping them work through problems I suggest you consider psychology or one of the master's degreed mental health professionals. I myself am a psychologist, mostly retired, who did evaluations and therapy on a variety of individuals.

I wish you the best in your career pursuits.

Ray Finn, Ph.D.

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Estelle’s Answer

great answers!
Think of it this way. Psychiatrists and neurologists are both doctors who have gone to medical school and completed residencies. Psychologists have undergraduate, and sometimes graduate degrees , to be licensed counselors.

Thank you. I've got the difference now. :D Samyukta S.

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Abhilash’s Answer

Psychologist and a psychiatrist work in the area of patient assessment and counseling Samyukta, the job description, education and training are very different. For example, a psychologist typically completes a master's or doctoral degree, while psychiatrists must have a medical degree. Neurologists are medical doctors who specialize in treating diseases that afflict the nervous system.

So... psychologists needn't go to med school?? Samyukta S.

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sushma’s Answer

The difference, simply put, is that a psychiatrist is a doctor of the mind and a neurologist is a doctor of the brain.
Psychiatrists and neurologists are both medically trained doctors. They have graduated from medical school with an MBBS degree and have pursued their medical specializations in psychiatry and neurology respectively. With these qualifications, both are equipped to treat with modern medication only.
his is a very crude and simplified difference, just to help us learn. According to modern medicine, diseases of the mind do arise from the brain. As science has progressed, psychiatrists and neurologists have developed different and sometimes complementary core competencies.

A neurologist will work with disorders that may not have any direct impact on our daily functioning, our moods, behaviors and thoughts. For instance, numbness in parts of our body, tingling in our extremities: in and of themselves, they do not always cause changes in our moods, thoughts and behaviors. Other more severe neurological disorders include stroke, paralysis, hemorrhage, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and brain damage. Within these, the primary complaint is not of changes in the mind or behavior. If there are, these are secondary to the neurological or medical disease process, and can be treated accordingly by the neurologist zirself* or a psychiatrist.

Many neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease can also present with psychiatric symptoms. A psychiatrist knows when the symptoms are from a core psychiatric illness and when it is secondary to another disease.
A psychiatrist will diagnose and treat mental disorders of mood, thought and behavior. These will include depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders of all types, psychosis and schizophrenia, and even addiction disorders. Psychiatrists are also best suited to work with childhood and developmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The primary complaints for a psychiatrist will include significant changes in one’s mood, thought and behavior. These will likely not lead to a search for an organic cause (though of course they may be pursued in rare or severe cases.) All of these are also clearly outlined in guiding manuals such the International Classification of Diseases (ICD, by the World Health Organization) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM, by the American Psychiatric Association).

Confusion can arise in the case of overlapping illnesses such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and dementia. In ASD, there is certainly an organic component, but treatment protocols have evolved such that this and even other childhood disorders fall within the purview of psychiatrists who work along with the child’s pediatrician. Similar treatment paths may be followed for intellectual disabilities.

Dementia too is both structural and functional in nature. While dementia can be mapped using brain imaging techniques, it impacts our moods, thoughts and behavior, and even personality. While a neurologist will try and stop the brain from degenerating, a psychiatrist will help with feelings of sadness or mood swings that can also characterize dementia. One or the other can manage this condition, as can both as a team. Another example of overlapping territory is epilepsy.


Thanks a ton for spending so much time in answering my question. You were very helpful. :D Samyukta S.

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