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

Mental health and behavioral health often get used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same in either definition or treatment method. To help break it all down, we’ve outlined the difference between behavioral and mental health, including the varying signs and symptoms of both disorders that are worth being aware of.

What is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health refers to how our daily cognitive habits affect our overall well-being, emotions, biology, and behavior. It’s often used interchangeably with mental health, but is actually a far more expansive term that incorporates not just our mental wellness, but the way our thoughts play out in real life.

Good behavioral health means engaging in behaviors that help you achieve an ideal mental and physical balance. That means exercising, eating a healthy diet, and taking necessary steps to manage an existing disease or injury.

What Are Symptoms of Behavioral Health

Symptoms of poor behavioral health, on the other hand, are behaviors that negatively impact an individual’s well-being. In many cases, this includes behaviors associated with mental illness such as:

  • Disordered eating
  • Substance use
  • Social isolation

It can also refer to less severe behaviors that still bring about negative outcomes, such as inefficient sleep habits or poor hygiene.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is an individual’s well-being in relation to their behaviors, biology, and environment. It is a term that falls under the general umbrella of behavioral health, but it’s much broader than just a person’s behaviors. While behavioral health refers to how behaviors impact an individual’s well-being, mental health is primarily concerned with the individual’s state of being.

Why is Mental Health Important?

From childhood and adolescence through adulthood, it is important that we take the steps needed to protect and nurture our mental and behavioral wellness. Our mental health directly correlates with how we act and feel. It affects the decisions we make, and the people who we surround ourselves with.

Failure to address mental health early on, especially when problems arise early in an individual’s life, can have long standing consequences that bleed into all areas of existence. Someone who does not adequately deal with mental health problems in adolescence, for example, may find that symptoms worsen with age, and they may struggle to hit key milestones as they grow older, such as holding down a good job and learning to manage their finances.

What Are Symptoms of Mental Health

Symptoms of poor mental health are directly related to the mental disorder a person suffers from, though general signs include:

  • Sleep issues
  • Problems maintaining relationships
  • Various forms of self harm

Common mental illnesses are depression and anxiety, as well as mood disorders like bipolar disorder and, on the severe end of the spectrum, disorders like schizophrenia.

What is Behavioral Health Counseling?

When it comes to behavioral health treatment, counseling is a therapeutic modality that helps individuals manage the behaviors associated with mental illness or general problems with their well-being. It is focused on therapies that help individuals modify their behaviors for the better, reinforcing positive behaviors and finding ways to overcome negative behaviors. Often, this includes diagnosing or dealing with mental health problems.

Professionals who may provide behavioral health counseling include psychologists, social workers, and general physicians. Other concurrent treatment options may include medications and psychotherapy.

Seek Recovery Today: Palm Beach & East Coast Behavioral Health Treatment

At Retreat Behavioral Health, our team of professionals works with patients to address both mental health and behavioral health issues at their roots. Behind every mental illness is an underlying cause that can be identified and treated. Make the first step and contact us now, we accept admissions 24-hours a day. Please contact us at 855.859.8810.

Comparing Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment

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