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Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health: What’s the Difference?

Mental health and behavioral health are two common terms that are usually utilized interchangeably by lots of individuals. However, it is important to note that these two terms are completely different. So, if you are one of those that think these terms are the same, this article is what you need. What does behavioral health […]

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Mental Health
Source: Minnesota Monthly

Mental health and behavioral health are two common terms that are usually utilized interchangeably by lots of individuals. However, it is important to note that these two terms are completely different. So, if you are one of those that think these terms are the same, this article is what you need.

What does behavioral health entail?

In simple terms, behavioral health is all about how our behavior, wellbeing, biology, and emotions are influenced by our daily cognitive habits. When it is compared to mental health, behavioral health is more extensive. This is because it involves the way our thoughts, actions, and mental wellness affect our overall wellbeing.

When someone’s behavioral health is great, such an individual will behave in a way that assists them to enjoy an excellent balance between their physical health and mental health. In other words, there will be a balance in the use of a healthy diet, exercises, and other healthy lifestyles for the management of an existing injury or health condition.

A few of the common behavioral health disorders are:

  • Self-injury – refers to a condition in which someone hurts themselves as a result of a negative self-image. Disassociation and depression are some of the risk factors of self-injury.
  • Substance abuse – occurs when an individual misuses substances. It may be a form of coping mechanism for an existing problem or self-medication. Over time, substance abuse worsens any existing problem that the person may be dealing with.
  • Eating disorders – there are different forms of eating disorders. Binge eating, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa are some of the most common types. Any of these types of eating disorders can cause severe medical conditions such as obesity, unhealthy weight loss, and mental health issues.
  • Gambling addiction – occurs when a person has a compulsive urge to gamble irrespective of the negative impacts of such behavior on them.

What does mental health entail?

On the other hand, mental health refers to the association between the wellbeing of a person and their environment, biology, and behaviors. Although mental health is often classified under behavioral health, it is worthwhile to note that this term doesn’t focus particularly on the behaviors of an individual.

Simply put, behavioral health focuses on the effects of a person’s behaviors on their wellbeing whereas mental health is all about the state of being of a person.

Here are some of the common mental health problems that an individual may have:

  • Bipolar disorder –includes several episodes of extreme hyperactivity and depression. Since the degrees of bipolar disorder vary from one person to another, different people will have different experiences.
  • Depression –is regarded as a mood disorder that makes individuals feel heavy and empty from time to time. This condition affects the day-to-day life of the affected individual. Seasonal affective and postpartum depressions are some of the common types of depressions.
  • Schizophrenia – although this condition is not common, its effects often make obvious in the affected person. Some of its symptoms include unhealthy and repetitive thoughts, hallucinations, and delusions.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder – unlike occasional anxiety that most people experience, generalized anxiety disorder involves persistent worries that disrupt the day-to-day life of the person. In a few situations, this disorder has no known cause and can aggravate to a panic disorder.

Emphasizing the difference between behavioral health and mental health

To highlight the difference between these two terms, we have to reiterate the fact that behavioral health is a term that covers mental health and other terms. The particular distinction in the scope of these terms is their main difference. For example, if a person has issues with obesity, a behavioral health expert will likely focus on behavior that may be the risk factor of the problem. Otherwise, someone that is being treated for mental health problems will likely be also treated for behavioral health issues.

As indicated in the examples of mental and behavioral health problems mentioned above, you will notice that these two health problems are quite different. This is because the disorders under mental health are not the same as those classified as behavioral health disorders. Nonetheless, some disorders may be the risk factors for others.

Relationship between behavioral health and mental health

Although these two terms are not the same, they have certain relationships. In general, both mental health issues and behavioral health issues often occur together. Therefore, any treatment for either of them must focus on dealing with the two. In other words, if you want to treat mental health problems, you have to consider behavioral health disorders too and vice versa.

The conditions are usually treated with collaborative care that involves group counseling, medical interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. This is because only collaborative care can produce the all-encompassing results that the conditions usually require.

If you are dealing with any behavioral health disorders, you may want to check BetterHelp, which is a platform designed for helping individuals facing trauma, anxiety, relationship problems, addiction, and so on. Check out BetterHelp reviews to learn more about the platform.

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