Which Type Of Mental Health Professional Is Right For Me?

Opening about your mental health takes a lot of courage but once you make that decision, it is time to seek help. The process of finding the right help is way more crucial than you think. Feeling confused is normal but it is important that you do your research before making the final call.

When my sister was diagnosed with ADHD, we were really worried about her. I realized that her current therapy is not working for her. I did not know what to do so I asked my friend who is a doctor herself to refer me to a Psychiatrist in Islamabad. I discussed my sister’s situation with the doctor. Interestingly enough, the psychiatrist told me about a few indicators that can help me decide which type of mental health professional is right for me.

Here is a brief summary of what I learned:

Psychiatrist Vs. Psychologist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors that can treat complex mental disease by prescribing medications. While psychologists are professional counselors that can treat common mental illnesses by talk therapy or counseling.

Issues That Need To Be Treated

To treat the problem, there needs to be a thorough diagnosis. As for diagnosis, any qualified health professional, either psychologist or psychiatrist, should be able to do so. Once you go through an evaluation diagnosis and know your disorders, you can make the decision.

Suitable Treatment For You

Knowing the best-suited treatment for yourself can help tremendously with the decision but sadly, it is not that simple. Some people might only need counseling or talking therapy, some people might need both, while some people might only need medications. Based on the research, here are the best-suited treatments for common mental health issues:

  • Mental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia might need medication instead of therapy
  • For depression, the treatment that was most effective was found to be the mixture of both medication and talk therapy.
  • In the case of anxiety, research has shown that talk therapy or counseling has outperformed the effectiveness of medication

Who To Consult Before

Whether you see a psychiatrist or a psychologist before, if they are professional and qualified, they will have extensive knowledge on how to treat you. But if you are still unsure, you can ask them if they have treated similar cases like yours before. Do not forget to make sure if they are licensed to practice in your state and are certified.

Seeing The Difference In Yourself

Unlike physical disorders, mental orders cannot be treated overnight. Even the medications take a few weeks to make a noticeable difference. Which is a good thing because otherwise, medications that show difference rapidly might be harmful due to their high potency.

Talk therapy might take even longer than medication. In the first few sessions, you might only be able to tell them what you feel and then treatment starts afterward. The results in therapy might show up late but they sure last way longer than medications and do not have any side effects unlike medications if done the right way.

If Treatment Is Not Working

If you firmly believe that your treatment is not working, tell your mental health professional immediately. Discuss why it is not working and what they can do to make it work. Also, before giving up your treatment, consult more than one professional. Oftentimes people get discouraged only by seeing one psychiatrist or psychotherapist but having more than one experience can help a lot. Sadly, these treatments are highly subjective and their effect varies from person to person. You will ultimately have to figure out for yourself what works best for you. This might sound exhausting but once if you manage to find the best suitable professional, it will be all worth it.


Eventually, whatever professional service you use, make sure you have a conversation about what the treatment would look like and any other queries you have. Not only it will erase any confusion but will also help you understand what to expect from the professional and the treatment. It also shows that you are invested in your treatment, which is essentially the first step towards getting better.


Meta Description: Choosing between a psychiatrist and a psychologist in terms of the best treatment for mental illness can be a difficult task. Here are a few tips that can help you decide what treatment or mental health professional to go for.


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