Neurologists and psychiatrists are sometimes thought to be the same by many. This is because these two medical professionals both deal with the most important organ in the human body— the brain. However, they are not the same, for they focus on different domains.
Neurology is concerned with the brain and central nervous system, specifically how they control the functioning of the body. On the other hand, psychology is concerned with living organisms’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects, particularly humans.
It is essential to differentiate these two branches of medicine so you will be able to distinguish what medical help you need to seek. With that, here are a few main comparisons of these medical specialties.
Both neurologists and psychiatrists treat illnesses and diseases of the brain and mind. But neurologists specialize in physiological problems, while psychiatrists specialize in psychological disorders. This means that neurologists treat physical brain dysfunctions as well as involuntary nervous system activities. Psychiatrists treat diseases characterized by behavioral and emotional symptoms caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, developmental difficulties, or life experiences. Although both sorts of specialty involve the brain, the symptoms manifest differently.
Conditions and symptoms
Neurologists can assist patients with any type of nervous system problem. Here are some specific conditions that neurologists treat:
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Headaches and migraines
- Numbness and tingling
- Shaking and muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Brain damage
Meanwhile, psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of disorders that affect how people think, feel, and behave. Among the symptoms and conditions that psychiatrists treat are:
- Eating disorders
- Mood swings
- Developmental disorders
- Emotional trauma
Psychiatrists and neurologists can function in a variety of medical settings. These two can work in hospitals and have their own private practices. Generally, psychiatrists can also work in behavioral health clinics and substance misuse rehabilitation centers. Neurologists frequently work in a standard doctor’s office setting with a sterile clinic area. Like a counselor or therapist, a psychiatrist may work in a more relaxed office setting with couches and chairs to offer patients a safe space to discuss mental difficulties.
Now that you know the few differences between neurologist and psychiatrist, you can know correctly identify when you should seek either of these two medical professionals.
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