What is the Difference Between Psychology & Psychiatry?

Psychology and psychiatry are two different fields. While they both deal with human behavior, they are often at odds with each other. 

In this article, you will learn the difference between these fields and their different areas of expertise. Whether you are a psychology student or a psychiatrist, you will be able to learn about the differences between the fields and their related skills.

What is the Difference Between Psychology & Psychiatry?

Here are the following differences between Psychology & Psychiatry:

  • Psychology is a discipline of science that focuses on behavior and mental processes. On the other hand, Psychiatry is a medical specialty of mental health that addresses mental health disorders. 
  • The primary goal of psychology is to understand, explain, predict, and influence behavior while Psychiatry is the treatment of the mental and behavioral disorders that manifest as such symptoms as hallucinations, delusions, unusual thoughts, and behavioral disturbances.
  • A doctor of psychology is a professional who has a PhD in psychology and a doctor of psychiatry is a professional who has a medical degree and has completed a residency in psychiatry. 
  • A psychologist is a person who uses psychology to help or improve the mental or emotional well-being of individuals, couples, groups and/or organizations. In contrast, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists differ in their approach and expertise. Psychologists are primarily focused on talk and behavioral therapy. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, primarily give medication to patients.
  • Psychologists use a variety of techniques such as surveys, interviews, and experiments to study human behavior and Psychiatrists also uses variety of techniques but in the form of  medications, psychotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy to treat patients with mental disorders.
  • The term “psychology”  is derived from the Greek words “psyche” meaning “mind” while and “logos” meaning study while “psychiatry” is derived from the Greek words “psyche” meaning “mind” and “iatros” meaning “healer.”

What do psychologists typically do?

Psychologists are typically educated in a four-year undergraduate program, followed by a four-year graduate program. They are then required to undergo a training period of supervised experience, followed by a three-year internship. 

This is followed by a three-year licensure process that requires passing the state’s exam. Psychologists are responsible for developing and implementing individualized treatment plans, as well as providing therapy and counseling services to help people overcome personal and mental health issues. 

They are also experts in group dynamics, which means that they can design a group activity that will be interesting for all participants. Psychologists may be employed by hospitals, private practices, schools, or government agencies. 

What do psychiatrists typically do?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. 

They often work with other mental health professionals, such as psychologists and social workers. Psychiatrists use medications, psychotherapy, and other methods to help patients recover from mental health disorders. 

They are also known as psychiatrists and psychotherapists. They diagnose and treat mental disorders and provide care for people who are experiencing psychiatric problems. 

What are the similarities between the two fields?

Psychology and Psychiatry are two different fields of study that deal with the study of the human mind. Both Psychology and Psychiatry use the scientific method to answer questions about how the mind works.

Another similarity between the two fields is the fact that they both have a scientific basis, they use empirical evidence, and they are both concerned with issues such as human development, mental health, and behavior.

Psychology and psychiatry are both fields that require a doctorate degree. This is because these jobs are typically research-based. They both take years of hard work, dedication, and patience.

Psychology and psychiatry are both fields that require a lot of time, energy, and effort to complete the degree. It is not an easy task to get into these fields. What are the different challenges that each field faces?

How does psychology help with mental illnesses?

Psychology has many benefits, such as helping with mental illnesses. For example, psychology helps people with anxiety and depression by teaching them how to cope with and manage their symptoms. 

Therapy can help overcome some of the negative thoughts that come with mental illnesses. Psychology can also help by providing tools and resources for people to help themselves with their mental illnesses. 

Lastly, Psychology can also help with mental illnesses by providing insight into the thoughts and feelings of people with mental illnesses as well as identifying the strengths and weaknesses of those who are struggling with mental illness. 

What are the different types of mental health disorders?

Mental health disorders encompass a wide range of topics, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting 40 million adults. They can be classified into different types such as Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. 

Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by a constant state of worry, while panic disorder is characterized by sudden and unexpected attacks of intense fear and anxiety. 

These anxiety disorders are characterized by an excessive, irrational, and often debilitating fear of situations that are not dangerous. 

Mood Disorders

There are many different types of mood disorders, but the most common are depression and bipolar disorder. People with depression have a low mood or feeling of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks. 

Those with bipolar disorder have periods of mania or hypomania where they feel very happy and full of energy. Those with dysthymia have periods of mild depression that last for more than two years. 

A mood disorder can be caused by a number of things, like a chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma, or even a combination of both. 

Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior that affects how you relate to others and leads to distress or impairment. These disorders are typically characterized by a long-standing pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classifies personality disorders into five main groups: Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, narcissistic personality disorder, and Borderline. Personality disorders can lead to dysfunctional relationships and other social problems.


Psychology is a branch of science that studies the human mind and behaviour. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws from the fields of biology, neuroscience, and social sciences. It is often associated with the study of abnormal behaviour and mental disorders, but it also includes the study of behaviour in everyday people and animals. Psychiatry is the medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. It is a branch of medicine that provides services for patients with mental disorders. It is also a medical field that focuses on preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. Both aims to understand the innerworkings of the mind and behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is the Difference Between Psychology & Psychiatry?

How much do psychologists earn in USA?

The national average salary for a Psychologist is $93,647 in United States.

How much do psychiatrists earn in USA?

The national average salary for a Psychiatrist is $226,051 in United States.

Which is more in demand, psychologist or psychiatrist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Psychiatrists are more in demand because there are fewer of htem than psychologists in 2019, so the US needs more of them.


Bolton, D., & Hill, J. (1996). Mind, meaning, and mental disorder: The nature of causal explanation in psychology and psychiatry. Oxford University Press.

Roback, A. A. (1961). History of psychology and psychiatry.

Psychiatrist: What They Are, vs. Psychologist, and More. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/what-is-the-difference-between-a-psychologist-and-a-psychiatrist

Psychiatrists and psychologists: What. Retrieved from https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/psychiatry-explained/psychiatrists-and-psychologists

The Differences Between Psychology and Psychiatry | Psychology.org. Retrieved from https://www.psychology.org/resources/differences-between-psychology-and-psychiatry/