Re: Bipolar symptoms, what kind of Dr do I need>
With the symptoms you've been experiencing along with the very high amount of neuropsychiatric disorders in your family tree, you should definitely make an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist to discuss your moods and discuss if you already qualify for a bipolar diagnosis.
I do not believe you need a referral to make an appointment with a mental health professional. Try researching psychiatrists in your area and call to see if you can make an appointment.
For your question, psychiatrists and psychologists are quite different. Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They went to medical school and specialized in psychiatry. The big thing about psychiatrists is that they are able to prescribe medications for you. Psychologists, therapists, counselors, etc. are not permitted to prescribe medication. These professionals are not medical doctors. They usually will have a master's or a Ph.D in psychology and have been licensed to treat patients with non-medication forms of therapy.
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are the two neuropsych disorders that pretty much have to be managed with medication for proper functioning. But therapy/counseling is always a great treatment to consider in conjunction with medication. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"