Understanding the Difference Between Mental Health and Behavioral Health

A girl sitting with her head in her hands looking stressed

If you ever look up mental health, you’ll also come across the term behavioral health. While the two concepts have distinct differences, the terms are often used interchangeably. This poses a significant problem.

Since the two kinds have their differences, their treatments also differ. But without understanding the difference, you’re not likely to get the right diagnosis or the proper treatment.

Understanding Behavioral Health

In its simplest terms, behavioral health has everything to do with one’s behavior, physical and emotional well-being, and how these are impacted by our cognitive habits every day. In a way, behavioral health encompasses much more than mental health. If your behavioral health is great, you will enjoy a balance between excellent physical and mental health.

Some instances where patients are diagnosed with behavioral health concerns are in cases of self-injuries, eating disorders, substance abuse—patients could be using it as self-medication or a coping mechanism to deal with mental health issues, or even a gambling addiction is viewed as a behavioral health disorder.

What Does Mental Health Include Exactly?

Mental health is more commonly known and understood and can actually be classified as a part of behavioral health. In simple terms, we can say that it refers to a person’s well-being and its connection to their environment, biological factors, and behaviors.

It’s essential to understand that while behavioral health shows how a person’s daily habits can impact their mental state, mental health places a special focus on how mental issues can also be isolated causes of certain habits.

Bipolar disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia are all common mental health disorders.

Are the Two Ever Connected?

The fact that these terms are used so interchangeably shows how interconnected the two concepts are. In fact, most of the time, we’d see them occurring together since they both concern a patient’s mental well-being at the end of the day.

This is why they are often treated together. Treating one problem while ignoring the other would result in a never-ending cycle of recurring mental or behavioral health issues. Therefore, most experts use a combination of treatment methods that target both, including medication, therapy, group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and so on.

If you believe that you or a loved one may be going through a behavioral or mental health crisis, reach out to us.

At Ziks Health Services, we provide behavioral health services and telepsychiatry in New Mexico.

Get in touch with us to learn more about telemedicine services.  

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