Difference between Neurologist and Psychiatrist

Key Difference: A neurologist handles the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders/diseases related to the nervous system. A psychiatrist deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness as well as emotional disorders.

A neurologist is a medical practitioner who deals with diagnosis and treatment of the diseases/disorders of the nervous system. Neurologists treat conditions like sleep disorders, epilepsy, brain injuries, migraine headaches, brain and spinal cord tumors, etc.

Nervous system is very important as it controls both behaviors and sensation (balance, ambulation, reflexes, memory, speech, language, etc.). Thus, a neurologist must be an efficient medical doctor or osteopath. Mostly some kind of additional training is required to get the specialty in neurology sub branches like sleep medicine, neuromuscular medicine, and many more.

To be a neurologist one required to get a MD or DO Degree. Later it is continued by a special training in an accredited neurology course. Many people confuse between Neurologist and Psychiatrist as they seem to be treating similar types of disorders or connected disorders/diseases. The truth is that both overlap each other. To understand the relation, one must be familiar with the definition of a Psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist is a medical practitioner who treats the disorders related to mental illness. These illnesses are recognized by similar signs and symptoms which exhibit the activity of mind like memory, emotions, sensory perception, attention, pleasure, etc.

After graduation from a medical school, a psychiatrist needs to complete the training in the field of psychiatry. A Psychiatrist can further specialize in subjects like geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, etc.

A neurological evaluation includes much evaluation done by psychiatrists but still they focus more on motor and sensory systems, reflex actions, and many more similar types of things.

Comparison between Neurologist and Psychiatrist:





A neurologist is a medical practitioner who deals with diagnosis and treatment of disorders/diseases related to the nervous system.

Psychiatrist is a medical practitioner who treats the disorders/diseases related to mental illness.

Treatment of disorders or diseases

  • Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke
  • Demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis
  • Headache disorders
  • Infections of the brain and peripheral nervous system
  • Movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease
  • Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Speech and language disorders
  • Bi-Polar,
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  •  Social Anxiety Disorder
  •  Depression

Illness related to

Mainly movement, sensation, physical pain

Mainly disordered thinking, feeling and general behavior

Some sub-specialties

  • Clinical neurophysiology
  • Vascular Neurology
  • Pediatric Neurology
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Psychiatry of old age
  • Forensic psychiatry (concerned with legal, compensation and criminal cases)
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychotherapy

Approx. Earnings (Per annum, in Dollars)


100000 to 300000

Related jobs

Allergist, Psychologist, Biologist, Scientist, Cardiologist, Surgeon, etc.

Addiction counselor, Career counselor, Metal health nurse, Psychologist, etc.

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Article is not bad but is not entirely accurate especially when discussing conditions addressed. Neurology and Psychiatry were historically the same field. In fact many of the founding fathers of modern Psychiatry were in fact Neurologists (e.g. Sigmund Freud). They also have the same board diploma (American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology). The fields began to move apart as psychiatry moved towards psychoanalysis and development of psychotherapy. However both specialties have been coming back towards each other over the decades with psychiatry returning to its medical roots. Both treat disorders of the central nervous system with the key difference not being whether something is physical or not as most psychiatric disorders are believed to have physical or biological underpinnings (e.g. schizophrenia is a neurodegenerative disorder). Broadly stated Neurology's focus is treating disorders of movement and sensation whereas Psychiatry's focus is treating disorders of thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Dementia is actually treated mostly by psychiatrists and not neurologists. Dementia units are exclusively run by (geriatric) psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are consulted on medical-surgical floors to distinguish dementia and delirium typically not neurologists, for example. Neurologists until recent years were not required by ACGME (Accreditation board for training) to have any training in psychiatric disorders or cognitive disorders such as dementia, though some residencies did (and it was always available as an elective rotation). Now they are rquired to have 4 weeks of clinical psychiatry but are only required to see one dementia patient during their residency (most will encounter more of course). Psychiatry residencies mandate months of geriatric psychiatric training on specialized units and outpatient clinics which care for mostly dementia patients. Dementia as a cognitive (thought) disorder mostly falls on psychiatry. An entire large section of the DSM-V (diagnostic bible of psychiatry) is dedicated to properly diagnosing different types of dementias and cognitive disorders). But neurologists can and do implement medical treatments for dementia patients as well in the real world. There is overlap with other central nervous system disorders as well such Parkinsons, Huntingtons, and stroke patients who will have both neurological and psychiatric symptoms.

My 2 cents, neurologists cover a broad spectrum of diseases,.though mainly related the nervous system,..Psychiatrists take care of medical and related non-medical illnesses also

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