Have you found that either yourself or your child has been referred for assessment or treatment for ADHD to a specialist, but you are not really sure what the difference is between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Many people come to us at ADHD Ireland for advice on where to go next once they discover that either they or their child may need an ADHD assessment.
This short guide outlines the difference between both professionals, so that you can be informed in your decision on taking the next step in your ADHD treatment:
The 3 Key Differences:
- Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors, psychologists are not.
- Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, psychologists cannot.
- Psychiatrists can diagnose, manage treatment, and provide a range of therapies for all levels of mental illnesses, including ADHD. Psychologists can diagnose mental illnesses, but their form of treatment and therapy focuses primarily on non-medication-based treatment such as psychotherapy (talk therapy) to help patients.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with at least 12 years’ training, or more. They first do a medical degree at university before qualifying as a doctor and then they complete at least six years of training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.
They can treat complex conditions including severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.
Their methods of treatment include prescribing medication, psychological treatments, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and general medical care, including your health and response to medications.
Currently in Ireland, all consultant child psychiatrists and psychiatrists working with children and adults with intellectual disability can diagnose and treat ADHD. However, many consultant adult psychiatrists are not yet trained to do so. This training is now being provided for trainee adult psychiatrists as a first step in addressing this issue. This is organised by the HSE Adult ADHD National Clinical Programme in association with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland.
Psychologists have at least 6 years of university training and supervised clinical experience. They may also hold a Masters or Doctorate level qualification in psychology. If they have a Doctorate (PhD) a psychologist can call themselves ‘Dr’, but they are not medical doctors.
Clinical psychologists have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.
Psychologists are more likely to see people with conditions that can be helped effectively with psychological treatments. This might include behavioural problems, learning difficulties, depression, and anxiety. Not all psychologists are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
If you would like more information, please contact us on 01-8748349 or [email protected]