What is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health issues are things that people struggle with every day. Fortunately, you can find help at your nearest wellness center.

To understand behavioral health, it’s first important to distinguish it from mental health, with which there is considerable overlap.

Is Behavioral Health The Same As Mental Health?

behavioral health services for mental illness

Mental health is a term that’s often used to refer to a person’s emotional well-being. A person with good mental health is able to see situations clearly without letting stress or emotion cloud their judgement, has sense of who they are and purpose in life.

Behavioral health refers to a person’s ability to cope with daily stressors and demands, and to act in a way that promotes physical and psychological well-being. It includes our ability to manage our emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and express empathy for others, build and maintain positive relationships, and cope with stress and adversity.

While the two concepts are closely related, there are some important differences.

Mental health focuses on our cognitive and emotional well-being, while behavioral health focuses on our ability to function in daily life.

Mental health is about our thoughts, feelings and emotions; behavioral health is about our actions and behaviors.

Mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, can affect our ability to function in daily life, but they are not the same as behavioral health disorders.

Behavioral health disorders, such as addiction and gambling, are characterized by patterns of behavior that are harmful to ourselves or others.

How Behavior Affects Your Health

behavioral and mental health issues

Your behavior can impact your health in many ways. It can affect your diet and whether you get enough exercise. It can affect whether you smoke or drink alcohol, and how well you manage stress. All of these things can impact your physical health, but they can also impact your mental health.

For example, if you smoke, you’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. If you don’t get enough exercise, you’re more likely to suffer from obesity and heart disease. And if you drink too much alcohol, you’re more likely to suffer from liver disease.

Your behavior can also impact your relationships. If you’re always fighting with your partner or spouse, it can lead to problems in your relationship. If you’re always putting yourself in danger, it can put a strain on your relationships with your family and friends.

Your behavior can also impact your job. If you’re always calling in sick, it can make it hard to keep your job.

Generally, behaviors that provide a sense of security, meaning and purpose are ideal for maintaining good mental health. These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Having a social support network
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Expressing your feelings
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally

Common Behavioral Health Disorders

physical and mental health

There are many different types of behavioral health disorders. Some of the most common include:

  • Eating disorders: Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal eating habits and preoccupation with food. Common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
  • Impulse control disorders: Impulse control disorders are characterized by the inability to resist urges or impulses. Common types of impulse control disorders include kleptomania, pyromania and intermittent explosive disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by persistent and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse is the repeated use of drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences.

Treatments For Behavioral Health Disorders

behavioral health and mental health challenges

Behavioral health treatments typically include a variety of approaches. Some people may benefit from medication, while others may need to participate in counseling or therapy. It is important to work with a mental and behavioral health professional to find the best treatment for you.

  • Medication: Medication can be used to treat behavioral health disorders. Common types of medication used to treat these disorders include antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
  • Counseling and therapy: Counseling and therapy can be used to treat behavioral health disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that can be used to help people change their thoughts and behaviors.
  • Support groups: Support groups can be a helpful part of treatment for behavioral health disorders. These groups provide support and information for people who are dealing with similar issues.
  • Hospitalization: In some cases, people with behavioral health disorders may need to be hospitalized. This can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

Help Is Available!

If you or someone you know is dealing with a behavioral health disorder, help is available. There are many treatment options available that can help people manage their disorders and live happy, healthy lives.

Learn more about mental and behavioral health here.