Behavioral and mental health issues have exploded in recent years.
According to Dr. Ryan Shelton, people often misunderstand what behavioral health means and even use it interchangeably with mental health. However, the two concepts are completely independent of one another.
Here’s what you need to know about the differences between behavioral and mental health.
What is Behavioral Health?
Behavioral health pertains to how our cognitive habits influence our emotions, biology, behavior, and well-being. It’s a vast term that covers a variety of different things.
Achieving good behavioral health means practicing behaviors that lead to a healthy body and mind. It could involve eating a healthy diet, partaking in regular exercise, and taking steps to manage a pre-existing condition.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health, on the other hand, focuses entirely on a person’s mental well-being. Dr. Ryan Shelton says that this field primarily focuses on an individual’s state of being, whereas behavioral health concentrates on an individual’s overall well-being.
The main difference is that mental health is no more than a subset under the vast umbrella that is behavioral health. It’s this relation that often causes people to use the terms interchangeably.
Behavioral vs. Mental Health Disorders
Millions of Americans see a healthcare provider every year for issues related to behavioral or mental health.
Some examples of mental health disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
In contrast to these conditions, behavioral health disorders result from negative behaviors that have consequences for the physical or mental health of an individual.
Some types of behavioral health disorders include: alcoholism, gambling addiction, drug abuse, sex addiction, or eating disorders
The difference is subtle, but there’s a clear difference between the types of disorders relating to behavioral and mental health.
The Link Between Mental and Behavioral Health
Someone who suffers from a behavioral health problem will typically also suffer from a mental health problem. In most cases, treating a negative behavior will not be enough to treat the individual.
For example, it’s generally accepted that someone who suffers from an eating disorder will also be suffering from a mental health problem. Together, the two issues co-exist with each other. Only by treating the root cause can the behavioral problem also be corrected.
Consequently, treatment for mental and behavioral health can be so complex and must be tailored to each person.
Understanding mental and behavioral health is important because even though the terms are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
If you suffer from dangerous behavioral health or mental health problem, it’s important to seek care. Without treatment, the problem is likely to worsen over time.
Have you experienced treatment for a behavioral or mental health problem before?