They may provide psychotherapy, medications, or psychosocial interventions. They are actually considered to be more like mental health doctors vs. a therapist. Psychiatrists are often the choice for people who are struggling with a serious, life-altering mental health illness, because psychiatrists can help a person more quickly by prescribing medications. Psychiatrists will manage the prescriptions, check on dosages and the progress of their clients. They can also provide talk therapy, but many people go to psychiatrists when they need to be on medication at least to start with. Often a combination of medication and counseling is needed. In addition, psychiatrists can also prescribe or provide a full range of medical laboratory and psychological tests. They also monitor the effects of mental illness on other physical conditions (such as problems with the heart or high blood pressure), and the effects of medicines on the body (such as weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, sleep, and kidney or liver functioning) (WebMD).
Although psychiatrists focus on the mind, behaviors, and overall mental health just like a psychologist, some of them don’t provide talk therapy. So they will recommend a psychologist to see, as well. Psychiatrists deal largely with syndromes and disorders, such as severe depression, personality disorders, ADHD, panic disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. They assess and diagnose such disorders, and come up with a treatment plan to help (Jacobson, 2015).
Psychiatrists are required to have a medical degree, and to gain a certification as a psychiatrist typically takes 11 years. Then, depending on where a person practices, there may be a certain amount of training, along with a residency/internship experience required.
WebMD/Guide to Psychiatry and Counseling. Retrieved from:
Jacobson, Sheri. (2015, June 16). HARLEY THERAPY: Counselling Blog/The Different Types of Therapists – Which One Is For You? Retrieved from:
AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION/What is Psychiatry?. Retrieved from: