Behavioral Health vs Mental Health

Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health

Let’s take a deeper look into Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health.

“Behavioral health” and “mental health” are often used interchangeably. But though they sound alike and do have some similarities, they represent two distinct fields of health. 

In brief, behavioral health primarily focuses on observable actions and reactions in different situations. It considers diverse behavioral patterns, even when emotions are similar. In contrast, mental health centers on thoughts and emotions, examining cognitive and emotional aspects to understand and address an individual’s overall psychological well-being.

While mental health is a subset of behavioral health, the former is concentrated on mental processes and emotions, while the latter encompasses a wider range of behaviors.

Keep reading to learn more.

How to Get Help for Mental Illness

Before we discuss behavioral health vs mental health, know that there’s always help for both. if you or a loved one suffers from a mental health disorder, reach out to your primary care physician or a mental health professional to begin your journey to recovery. This may include outpatient, inpatient, or residential treatment. 

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What Is Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Versus Mental Health

To help clarify further, we’ve put together a quick explanation of behavioral health versus mental health, plus information on what to do if you suspect you have a disorder that falls into one or more distinctions.

Types Of Mental Health Therapy

What is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health is the relationship between our behavior and our overall well-being. The behaviors that affect us could have roots in a mental disorder, or they could be tied to lifestyle, environment, emotions, or a whole host of other triggers. Some examples of problematic behaviors include substance abuse, eating disorders, and impulsivity. 

Those who seek behavioral health treatment are looking to address behaviors that are causing them distress, either because they are part of a larger mental health disorder or because they are holding them back from living a full and healthy life. One of the most widely used treatments for behavioral health is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), wherein a mental health professional works with an individual to identify the thought patterns behind certain behaviors and work through them in healthier ways.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to a patient’s overall wellness in relation to their biology, their environment, and their behaviors. Think of it as falling under the umbrella of behavioral health since all mental disorders have associated behaviors unique to their diagnosis. The clear difference here, however, is that mental health refers to an individual’s entire state of being, while behavioral health is focused just on their actions.

Mental health disorders are often complex, with multiple root causes, both biological and environmental. Whereas problematic behaviors may impact an individual’s life in just one or two ways, poor mental health tends to permeate all areas, leading to an overall reduction in a person’s quality of life. Mental health disorders require professional treatment, and because they’re strongly tied to brain chemistry, they often require medication as well.

Mental Health Conditions and Treatments

There are many types of mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, and Otherwise Not Specified)
  • Schizophrenia

Other mental health disorders include personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and others. 

Each type of mental health disorder has a set of well-defined symptoms that a patient must exhibit in order to receive a diagnosis. Additionally, there are some general signs of poor mental health that tend to present across the spectrum, such as difficulties with relationships and responsibilities, as well as poor sleep habits and self-harm behaviors.

Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health Treatment

What is Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health treatment is highly individualized since each patient has unique needs and experiences. However, effective treatment generally requires a combination of the following types of therapies:

  • Medication therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy (“talk therapy”)
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

These are often used in conjunction with holistic, lifestyle-based therapies, including yoga, meditation, and dietary changes.

What is Behavioral Health Treatment?

Behavioral health treatment varies per person. However, effective behavioral health treatment generally involves a combination of the following types of therapies and treatments:

  • Medication management
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Psychotherapy (“talk therapy”)
  • Mindfulness-based techniques
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Rehabilitation programs (inpatient and outpatient)
Behavioral Health vs Mental Health

Get Help Today

If you do not have a care provider or are not comfortable speaking to your care provider about your mental health, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264, which is available Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm ET.

Retreat Synergy offers both inpatient and residential treatment for those seeking treatment for mental illness. Please reach out to us directly to learn about our programs.

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