When Should I See A Psychiatrist Rather Than A Psychologist?
A Psychiatrist’s assessment would comprise of a symptom-based/diagnostic approach and result in a mental health diagnosis with reference to recognised diagnostic criteria. A Psychiatrist’s intervention would comprise medication and advice about management of the condition such as lifestyle changes.
In comparison, a Psychologist’s assessment would identify the presenting issues, the severity of the difficulties and take in-depth consideration to the various factors contributing to the presentation (including life events). A Psychologist’s course of treatment would comprise psychological therapy and/or other psycho-social interventions (e.g. parenting help for child clients). They would be able to identify when a pharmacological treatment might be helpful and be able to cross-refer to a psychiatrist.
In most instances, we would recommend undergoing an assessment from one of our Psychologists first. Instances where we would recommend a psychiatry assessment is sought as the first point of contact with our service would include:-
- ADHD assessments (certain instances)- when medication has already been identified as the preferred option for treatment and where continuity of care is desired.
- Mental health problems (certain instances) – when medication has already been identified as the preferred option for treatment or if a diagnostic/symptom-based approach to an assessment is required.