Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Alecia I have some questions. Mental health questions. I have a psychiatrist that has helped me immensely. A friend recently told me I need a "psychotherapist". My questions are related to alcohol withdrawals and medications...I basically want a second opinion and to basically be explained the difference in what a "psychiatrist" and "psychotherapist" is.
Hello, Sorry for the delay, I'm not often online on Sunday so I didn't see your question until today. It's always a good idea to get a second opinion -- obviously it's best to do that in person, since we don't provide treatment, but offer information and referral, on this site. Essentially, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry -- they have general medical training and undergo several years of additional post-graduate training in psychiatry. Since they are medical doctors, they can prescribe psychiatric medication (so, for example, for people who require medication for the treatment and management of mental illnesses or disorders such as depression, or, perhaps in your case, for prescribing medication that may be able to help with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal). While most psychiatrists focus on medication management, some also provide psychotherapy -- which is basically talk therapy, in the form of classical psychotherapy, which might focus on problems from your past (such as early family issues, etc) or cognitive-behavioral treatment, which focuses on making changes in dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors that can exacerbate the problems you are currently experiencing -- and is often useful for people dealing with alcohol and other substance-related problems. However, psychotherapy can be provided by another type of licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist, clinical social worker, marriage and family counselor or licensed professional counselor. Any of these professionals can use the term "psychotherapist."
I hope this information helps you. Best wishes.