Behavioral vs Mental Health: What are They?

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, the treatment methods aren’t the same.

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 several important differences between mental and behavioral health.

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 that are not directly a result of behaviors. While some mental health challenges are related to behavioral health, others are caused by genetics or brain chemistry.

Behavioral health is the way your habits impact your mental and physical wellbeing. That includes factors like eating and drinking habits, exercise, and addictive behavior patterns.

Substance abuse, eating disorders, gambling and sex addiction are all examples of behavioral health disorders. These conditions stem from maladaptive behaviors and may require behavioral health services to overcome.

In some circumstances, behavioral health may be considered a subset of mental health. However, behavioral health is also 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 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 both 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 may be 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, maladaptive behaviors may have a negative impact on your mental health or exacerbate an existing mental health condition. An addiction may make it difficult to maintain a career or marriage, which could in turn contribute to increased anxiety.

Positive behaviors may 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 better habits.

Mental Health counsilingGet 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, care for elderly people, and treatment for those with mental, developmental or physical challenges.

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