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.
To help clarify, we’ve put together a quick explanation on the differences between behavioral health and mental health, plus information on what to do if you suspect you have a disorder that falls into one or more distinction.
How to Get Help for Mental Illness
Before we talk about how to get help for mental illness, if you or a loved one suffers from a mental health disorder, know that resources exist regarding how to get help for mental illness. Reach out to your primary care physician or a mental health professional to begin your journey to recovery, which may include outpatient, inpatient, or residential treatment.
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 including 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.
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, often require medication as well.
Mental Health Conditions and Treatments
There are many types of mental health conditions, including:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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.
Treatment for mental health disorders 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
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.