Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health: An Important Distinction

Behavioral Health vs Mental Health

Behavioral health and mental health are two terms often used together to mean the same thing. Yet, they are different. The concept and development of behavioral health and treatment developed in the 1970s and 1980s but has changed significantly over the last 40 years. It’s important to understand the differences since they can mean something different for each patient. At the Florida House Experience, we provide treatment for both behavioral and mental health needs.

Understanding the Differences in Mental and Behavioral Health

To learn what your needs may be, it’s important to compare mental health and behavioral health from an outside view. Here’s a closer breakdown to give you a starting point:

What Is Mental Health?

Mental Health vs Behavioral, what is it?The U.S. federal government’s MentalHealth.gov provides a clear definition of what mental health is. In short, it is the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of a person. Your mental health is complex and impacts every area of your life. This includes how you think, the way you feel and the way you act. A person’s mental health also impacts the decisions they make and how they cope with life changes and stress. It also plays a role in the way you act with other people.

When a person has stable mental health, he or she is able to manage day-to-day stress, interact and contribute to the community, work productively and realize his or her own potential.

Mental Health Disorders

Some types of mental health disorders come from genetic inheritance. Others are caused by brain chemistry. The most common mental health disorders that do not relate to behavior including bipolar disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder and schizophrenia.

What Is Behavioral Health?

What are Behavioral DisordersBehavioral health focuses on habits. It also involves how your habits have an impact on your overall mental health and your physical health. The term applies to the actual study of a person’s emotions, biology and behaviors and how these impact his or her mental health. The best way to view behavioral health is to see it as a type of mental health study or focus.

Behavioral Health Disorders

Other conditions are directly or indirectly brought on by the behaviors of the individual. They may come from instances in which a negative force has created a mental or physical condition. In some situations, depression can fall into this area. However, substance abuse is most commonly a behavioral health disorder. Others include eating disorders, sex addiction and gambling.

How Mental Health and Behavioral Health Occur Together

In some cases, there is a link between mental health and behavioral health. It is very common, for example, for a patient to have co-occurring disorders, such as a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder. Most commonly, behavioral health is associated with some type of unhealthy habit. However, those habits may not be the start of mental health disorders. In some situations, behavioral health disorders can be brought on by underlying and nontreated mental health disorders. Likewise, a person who is stable but has an underlying genetic disposition for mental health disorders may begin to experience mental health complications as a result of substance abuse.

For example, in some situations, individuals may begin drinking alcohol to ease their mind and battle depression. In others, mental health conditions like schizophrenia may cause intense symptoms that may be lessened with the help of substances and drugs. In many situations, individuals end up battling complex conditions because both behavioral health and mental health conditions are present.

Diagnosis and Treatment — The Two Must Be Addressed Together

What becomes even more challenging for men and women who have either a mental health disorder or a behavioral health disorder is that treatment of one without the other results in noneffective outcomes in many cases.

At the Florida House Experience, our team is well-versed in treating co-occurring conditions. Not all treatment centers can offer this. If you or your loved one has or may have an underlying mental health disorder, it’s essential to choose a treatment center capable of providing both layers of care.

Where Diagnosis Starts

Even for trained professionals, it can be quite difficult to determine if mental health disorders are present or if an individual is only battling a behavioral health condition. The diagnosis process must involve a comprehensive look back at the individual’s life, the underlying cause of their current health crisis and what their needs are right now. For example, if an individual is struggling with an intense addiction to opioids, the addiction may have started due to dealing with chronic pain. However, looking back further, that pain may have been caused by sexual trauma. In this case, it becomes necessary to treat all aspects of the individual’s health.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Mental Health and Behavioral Health?

Every individual’s needs are very different. When you visit the Florida House Experience, a key component of the care we offer is to provide a personalized treatment plan to address the often complex needs of an individual. This may include treating mental illness and behavioral health at the same time.

Through collaborative care, especially when co-occurring conditions exist, we can help to create a plan that addresses all aspects of an individual’s needs.

  • This may include detox from any substances present. Often a first step, it can help to expose any underlying mental health disorders the individual is facing.
  • For those who have mental health disorders, a treatment plan may include medications to help stabilize the condition to allow for ongoing treatment and therapy.
  • Individuals who have behavioral health disorders alone may need to work through numerous therapy options, both residential and outpatient, to gain a type of treatment that is not based on medication.

Group and individual counseling tend to be key components of treating both mental and behavioral health disorders. Additionally, individuals benefit from holistic care to allow their body — which is generally abused and damaged over the misuse of chemicals or poor management of their mental health disorder — to heal. In all situations, a customized care plan becomes the best possible option.

At the Florida House Experience, we provide advanced care for both components. Co-occurring treatment is an option within our programs, as are holistic treatment, whole-body care, and individualized planning for the future after leaving rehab.

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