Because psychiatrists are trained medical doctors, they can prescribe medications, and they spend much of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment. Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention.
As part of the clinical assessment process, psychiatrists may employ a mental status examination; a physical examination; brain imaging such as a computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET) scan; and blood testing. Psychiatrists prescribe medicine, and may also use psychotherapy, although the vast majority do medical management and refer to a psychologist or other specialized therapist for weekly to bi-monthly psychotherapy.
The field of psychiatry has many subspecialties (also known as fellowships) that require additional training which are certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) and require Maintenance of Certification Program (MOC) to continue.
These include the following:
Child and adolescent psychiatry
Hospice and palliative medicine
Psychosomatic medicine (also known as consultation-liaison psychiatry)
Brain injury medicine
Cognition diseases as in various forms of dementia
Global mental health