When you are researching mental health, you have likely seen the phrase used interchangeably with ‘behavioral health’. It may have led you to believe that they are synonymous, when in fact there is a difference between the two.
It is an old term which has changed definition over the years, but it remains an important one. Being able to identify the difference will give you a greater understanding of what affects your situation.
How Do They Differ?
Good mental health is the most important factor in any person’s life. In fact, without it, you can suffer from a lack of enjoyment, energy, and other key points to enjoying yourself.
Mental health covers your genetic makeup, psychological condition and what habits you engage in. It is a broader term that is what most people mean when they refer to behavioral health.
However, the term refers to examining how your behavior affects your life. It doesn’t analyze the ‘why’ but instead the ‘what’ and considers how your habits can directly impact your physical and mental wellbeing.
This ranges from positive factors such as exercise and healthy eating to negative ones like smoking and excessive drinking. Studying your behavior and acting consciously can lead to great improvement in your life.
What To Look Out For?
Some negative behaviors are directly linked to mental health disorders and can be very hard to change on your own. Illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia and depression can be a lifetime battle that will affect your behavioral health.
A behavioral health disorder is a result of seemingly unchangeable habits and an inability to adapt to situations or long-term environments. Actions such as substance abuse, gambling, sex addiction, and eating disorders are all classic traits.
These are often a byproduct of a mental health disorder, but it is also changeable behavior. However, to effectively treat these conditions you may have to consider psychological treatment at the same time.
The reason it is important to study your behavioral health as a separate issue is because a mental health condition can be severely impacted by a chain of negative behavior. It will enhance symptoms and decrease the overall well-being of a person.
Changing a negative path into a positive one will improve your life and create healthy coping mechanisms instead. Replacing binge drinking with exercising or going for a cigarette with spending five minutes meditating can improve your mental and physical well-being.
How Do I Change?
The first step should be understanding why you are engaging in these behaviors; do you need extra help in the form of counseling or medication? Once you have a full understanding then you can start on the path to new behavior.
Telling someone your plan and being responsible while supported is a guaranteed step towards success.