Last updated on September 12th, 2023 at 01:40 am
If you’ve been researching mental health care options, you may have seen references to behavioral health services but might be unsure of what it is. While behavioral health and mental health are related, they tend to refer to slightly different aspects of a person’s health and the treatment methods can be different.
Understanding the differences between behavioral and mental health treatments can help you find the right care for your situation.
The Differences Between Mental and Behavioral Health
The term “behavioral health” originated just a few decades ago, but the meaning has changed over time. There are some differences between mental and behavioral health, although they are often used as synonyms.
Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual can cope with stress and be a productive member of the community. Your biology, habits, and psychological condition all impact and are impacted by your mental health.
Depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are all examples of mental health disorders. While many mental health challenges have a behavioral component, others primarily show up in a person’s thoughts and emotions. They are not always obvious from the outside.
Behavioral health has more to do with your actions and the ways they impact your mental and physical wellbeing. It includes your daily activities, habits, and other behavior patterns.
Behavioral health disorders are conditions that affect the way a person thinks and acts. Many of these conditions involve destructive behaviors, like eating disorders, substance abuse, self-injury, or addiction. Other behavioral health disorders are disabilities that are present from childhood, like ADHD or autism.
In many circumstances, behavioral health is considered a subset of mental health. However, behavioral health can also be a part of physical health. For example, a behavioral health professional may help an individual address the habits that lead to obesity, which is a physical issue.
Both mental health and behavioral health are broad terms that are interrelated with each other, as well as other aspects of health.
The Connection Between Behavioral and Mental Health
It’s very common for mental and behavioral health disorders to co-occur, meaning that two or more conditions are present in the same individual. Collaborative care with a team of different health professionals is particularly important in these situations. Treating one challenge without the other may not be effective.
In some cases, a mental health condition is a root cause of a behavioral health disorder. For example, someone with generalized anxiety disorder might cope with their anxiety by overeating, using drugs, or drinking excessively.
Similarly, behavioral health conditions may have a negative impact on your mental health or exacerbate an existing mental health condition. For example, someone with ADHD may be more likely to develop depression if they are struggling to keep up with daily tasks and meet others’ expectations due to their disability.
Positive behaviors can help reduce the impact of a mental health condition. Practices like meditation, exercise, and spending time with friends can improve your mental state. Similarly, treating a mental health condition may help someone reach a state that allows them to build healthier habits or coping skills.
Get the Right Diagnosis
Obtaining the correct diagnosis for your situation is key to getting the right care. An inexperienced care provider may prescribe medication and overlook the need to change behaviors or focus on behavioral health treatments without attending to an underlying psychiatric condition.
The best option is usually to work with a well-rounded team of therapists, doctors, and other experts to diagnose the situation. It’s important for care professionals to consider all aspects of a person’s wellbeing before deciding on a plan.
Treatment may include a wide variety of interventions, including group counseling sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medical treatments. Collaborating with a team of care providers can help you access the optimal treatment to live a fulfilling life.
Sunrise Offers Quality Mental and Behavioral Healthcare
Sunrise can help you with both mental and behavioral health solutions. With over 42 years of experience, we are proud to offer high-quality services to meet each individual’s unique needs. Our professionals can work with you to provide regular and intensive outpatient treatments, offer care, and treat mental, developmental, or behavioral challenges.