What is Mental Health and Behavioral Health? Understanding the Difference

Mental health and behavioral health are two terms that are oftentimes used to describe the same thing. They are commonly interchanged when referring to mental health disorders or even just someone’s overall mental health. 

While both terms are commonly treated as one and the same, they are actually two very different things. It is important to understand the difference between the two, as well as how the two can and do work together. Understanding what each is will help in understanding how you can get the best form of help that you need.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is considered the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of a person. Your mental health affects how you think, feel, and act. It has an impact on literally every aspect of your life. A person’s mental health impacts the decisions that they make and also plays a role in how they might react to certain things that happen, like live events or even stress. 

While someone who has mental health stability can go through their life pretty normally, that is not the case for someone who suffers from a mental health disorder. While something might seem simple or insignificant to someone who is mentally stable, for those suffering from a mental health condition it could send them spiraling.

What Are Some Examples of Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health disorders are much more common than most people think. In fact, 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffers from some form of mental illness. Chances are, if you don’t suffer from a mental health disorder, you know at least one person in your life that does. While there are many different types of mental health disorders, some are considered to be more common than others. Here are some of the more common mental health disorders.

Anxiety or Panic Disorders

While people might experience some amount of anxiety throughout their daily life, there are people out there that suffer from it so often or suffer from it so extremely, that it actually prevents them from being able to go about their daily lives. People that fit into that category might suffer from some form of anxiety or panic disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and certain phobias are all examples or common anxiety or panic disorders.

Mood Disorders

People who suffer from mood disorders tend to not be able to regulate or control their emotions. They might go through prolonged periods of extreme sadness, depression, or even happiness. 

Someone suffering from a mood disorder can go from feeling extremely happy to extremely sad or depressed in a very short amount of time for what appears to be no reason. Common types of mood disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is when someone has constant thoughts or fears that impact the way they are able to live their lives. The thoughts are called obsessions, while rituals are called compulsions. 

Someone who has an irrational fear of germs, or a germaphobe, might be diagnosed with OCD since that fear of germs might affect how they go about their daily activities. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that will develop after a particularly traumatic or terrifying event. Assault, a natural disaster, witnessing a murder, or anything else truly traumatic can bring on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb. Due to the nature of their work, first responders and those who serve in the military are more prone to PTSD than others.

What is Behavioral Health?

While mental health focuses on our mental state, behavioral health focuses on our behavioral patterns such as the habits we develop over time. The habits that we develop can have an effect on our mental and physical health as well as dictate the way in which we go about our lives. The term behavioral health refers to the study of a person’s emotions, biology, and behaviors and how that may impact their overall mental health.

What Are Some Examples of Behavioral Health Disorders?

While many mental health disorders can actually be genetic or brought on by the changing of the chemistry of the brain, behavioral health disorders are largely brought on by behavioral patterns. While behavioral disorders can be genetic in nature, they tend to be brought on by certain behaviors that can trigger the disorder. Here are some common behavioral health disorders.

Substance Abuse

In many cases, a substance abuse disorder can actually form as a result of an existing mental health condition. Many people are embarrassed or not exactly sure how to handle their mental health issues and will turn to drugs and/or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. While in the short term it might make them feel better, they are ultimately developing a whole new issue in the form of substance abuse.

General Addiction

Along with substance abuse, one of the more common behavioral health issues that people deal with their addiction. Like substance abuse, addiction can trigger the pleasure receptors in the brain and make the brain think that whatever is going on is a good thing. This will make the brain crave more of the addictive behavior so it continues to get more dopamine. While it might not be a substance that causes this, the activity itself could be dangerous or even cause issues in your life. Common examples of addiction include gambling, sex addiction, Pyromania (starting fires), kleptomania, and other impulse control disorders.

Eating Disorder

Eating disorders stem from extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. This can lead to significant medical issues in addition to mental health issues associated with self-image obsession or a lack of perceived control. Common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.

Is There A Connection Between Mental Health and Behavioral Health?

While mental health and behavioral health are two separate things, that doesn’t mean that the two can never be connected. In fact, because the brain ultimately controls everything, including our behavior, it is very common for there to be a link between behavioral and mental health. Someone could have a mental health disorder and as a result of that disorder, could develop a behavioral health disorder. 

While not nearly as common, it can work the other way around too. A person who has an underlying genetic disposition for mental health disorders may begin to experience mental health complications as a result of substance abuse or another type of behavioral health issue. When someone suffers from both at the same time, it is called a co-occurring disorder.

What Are My Treatment Options?

When it comes to getting treated for your condition, the most important thing is to make sure that you are properly diagnosed. Many times, an inexperienced care professional might misdiagnose someone. Not only can this result in not getting the treatment that you need, but if medication is involved it can make the situation worse or even result in the development of a substance abuse issue that didn’t previously exist. 

The best thing you can do is visit a dedicated treatment center like ours at Renewal Behavioral Health. By doing so, you can meet with a team of therapists, doctors, and other professionals who specialize in mental and behavioral health to properly diagnose you. They can also work with you on a customized treatment plan that will fit your needs specifically. 

Treatment may include a wide variety of programs including group and individual therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), interventions, non-traditional therapies such as art or music therapy, and even medical treatment in some cases. 

If you are suffering from a substance abuse issue, you will need to undergo detox before beginning treatment for both that and any other issues. It is recommended that detox be done in either a dedicated detox facility or another type of medical facility where around the clock care can be provided. Self-detox can be very dangerous and can even result in death.

Learn More About Mental and Behavioral Health

Just like you make sure to take care of yourself physically, it is important to take care of yourself mentally as well. When you are physically sick, you go to the doctor so you can get better. Why should it be any different if you are having mental health issues? Having mental or behavioral issues is nothing to be embarrassed about. 

At Renewal Behavioral Health we know that your mental well being is just as important as your physical well being. That’s we offer treatment programs for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health or behavioral health issue, there is no need to continue suffering. 

Contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer and to talk to one of our treatment professionals. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and you should treat it that way.