Whether you are receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem or a mental health disorder, you may be wondering how to identify the difference between a therapist vs psychologist. Either a therapist vs psychologist are essential parts of recovery from both addiction and mental health problems because both conditions are chronic and require behavioral changes.
Recovering from addiction and mental health disorders requires learning how to deal with things like triggers, cravings, and stress. Treatment from mental health professionals, including a therapist vs psychologist, can help you learn how to identify and change negative thinking patterns, thoughts, and behaviors. This education enables you to regain control of your life.
What is Addiction?
Addiction and substance abuse disorders are chronic and progressive mental health conditions that cause changes to your brain chemistry and behavior. Since addiction causes changes to your brain chemistry, it often leads to your pleasure center rewarding drug use and punishing abstinence. Drugs and alcohol cause your brain to release more neurotransmitters than normal, which causes the pleasurable effects associated with intoxication.
Over time, your brain and body become dependent on your substance of choice to feel normal. Your brain may become unable to release neurotransmitters on its own. If you don’t use your substance of choice, you can experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Drugs and alcohol also cause physical dependence and worsen underlying medical and mental health conditions.
Alcohol or drug addiction has a significant impact on your brain chemistry. If you have a mental health disorder your symptoms can worsen when you use drugs and alcohol. Nearly half of all people who have a substance abuse disorder have a co-occurring condition, meaning that they have both a mental health and substance abuse disorder. Because many mental health disorders involve neurotransmitter imbalances, drugs and alcohol can drastically aggravate your mental health.
Recovery from addiction includes understanding the differences between psychologist vs therapist and deciding which is right for you. The right choice can provide you with the support and skills you need to manage your symptoms and maintain abstinence and sobriety.
Difference between Therapist vs Psychologist
So, what is the difference between therapists and psychologists? A therapist specializes in providing treatment, while a psychologist specializes in diagnosing mental health conditions and providing psychotherapy. A therapist can provide:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectic behavioral therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
While a psychologist can provide therapy, they also formally diagnose mental health conditions. Additionally, the difference between therapists and psychologists is that a psychologist can perform forensic evaluations, psychotherapy, and behavioral interventions.
Also, regarding a psychologist vs therapist, psychologists can interpret psychological tests and have more education than therapists. Psychologists have doctorate level degrees, while therapists usually have bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
Finding Help Today
When you are struggling with a substance abuse disorder, you can feel stressed, confused, frustrated, and hopeless. Finding help from a therapist vs psychologist can help you begin your recovery journey. Therapists and psychologists can help you learn how to identify and change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how to avoid relapsing. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction we have some answers. Call us today at 866.932.8563.