A focus on behavioral health has been increasingly growing over the past several years. While this has been a positive change for society, many people would benefit greatly from a broader understanding of how this term fits into the wider picture of a person’s overall health. While physical and mental health are common terms for most people, behavioral aspect of health often needs clarification. This type of health can be defined as how daily habits, both mental and physical, affect one’s general health.
InfoMC has developed our platform with a “whole person” approach to, and that requires understanding how mental, behavioral, social, and physical health all intertwine. We recognize that treating person’s mental well-being as part of the overall patient picture is crucial, with integrated behavioral health create a more holistic set of treatments. Only when providers can see the whole picture can they best make decisions for their patients.
What is Behavioral Health?
This type of health refers to behaviors and activities that affect mental and physical health. Having positive well being can have an enormously positive impact upon your mental and physical health, so it is important to curate healthy behaviors. These behaviors can include:
- Diet. Eating healthy is one of the two most important aspects of good behavioral state of health. A balanced diet with enough protein, vitamins, and nutrients will not only help prevent physical illness but also stave off depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental illnesses.
- Sleep. Along with good dietary habits, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is essential to good health. During sleep, the body and mind regenerate; it has been scientifically connected to a stronger immune system and better mental health.
- Exercise. Besides the obvious physical benefits, regularly moving your body contributes to a more balanced state of mental wellbeing. Exercise can mean everything from going to the gym seven days a week to taking a walk in the evenings.
- Stress. Similarly, many people think of stress as being only a mental health issue. However, stress is physical as well. A balanced diet, good quality sleep, and consistent exercise can all help lower stress. These are all healthy ways to cope with stress.
- Social interaction. Humans are naturally social creatures, so one way to sustain good behavioral aspects of health is to have regular interactions with friends and family. Feeling connected to others has been shown to improve mood, lower stress, and encourage better behavioral saneness.
- Addiction. Avoiding bad habits is just as important as cultivating good ones. Avoiding damaging addictions will have long-term positive effects on both body and mind.
- Hygiene. Hygiene is often tied to one’s state of mental health. While it can have obvious effects on physical health and comfort, it is also important to maintain good hygienic habits for the sake of mental well-being too.
Behavioral vs Mental Health
Whereas mental health specifically pertains to one’s psychological state, including the biological combination of chemicals in the brain, behavioral is a bit more broad. It encompasses mental health, as mental state and behaviors are intimately connected.
Mental health is one aspect of behavioral fitness, but the reverse does not particularly hold true. While mental health issues are considered to be behavioral issues, not all behavioral issues are mental health issues. Since the behavioral aspect of health focuses on how daily behaviors have an impact upon mental and physical health, sometimes habitual behavior more directly affects physical health. For example, smoking has a straightforward negative impact on one’s lungs.
Impact of Behavioral Soundness
Behavioral health affects almost all other facets of health. Since healthy habits take time to build, it is especially important for young people and teenagers to be aware of the connections between their everyday behaviors and their long-term mental and physical wellbeing.
Many people’s daily routines begin at a young age, usually in the home. In particular diet, exercise, and addiction habits are commonly affected in the teen years. For instance, many people begin smoking or drinking, lack the skills to make healthy meals for themselves, or are not informed of how to build exercise into their day-to-day lives.
It can be difficult to build habits from the beginning, but it is never too late. Improving behavioral well-being at any age provides only benefits towards long-term healthy living.
Health Symptoms and Conditions
What are the signs to be aware of for behavioral health conditions? Often, they can appear to manifest as mental or physical health issues. Paying attention to changes in your mind and body allows you to recognize the signs as soon as possible.
Some common signs and symptoms are:
- Feeling sadness or overwhelming depression.
- Exhibiting a reduced ability to concentrate.
- Worrying excessively or experiencing unnecessary fears.
- Exhibiting extreme mood swings or emotional changes.
- Withdrawal from activities, friendships, and other social gatherings.
- Significant changes in eating habits.
- Suicidal thoughts or active thinking about harming yourself or others.
- Signs of dementia or lack of intellectual ability (especially those over the age of 55).
- Substance abuse.
These symptoms can be indicative of many types of behavioral conditions, such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance use disorders
Causes of Behavior Health Issues
Behavioral, mental, and physical health all interconnect. Therefore, it is difficult to point out one singular cause for conditions that may arise. However, some common causes are easier to watch out for.
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration.
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares.
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
- Worsening of chronic health problems and/or mental health conditions.
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances.
It is important to understand that when it comes to behavior health, causes could also be effects. That is why it is crucial to speak with a professional.
Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress
Stress is a major culprit of behavioral issues. By developing good strategies and habits to manage stress, overall health is improved.
Here are some tips for managing stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories
- Take care of your body
- Make time to unwind
- Talk to and connect with to others
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Recognize when you need help
Behavioral Health | InfoMC
InfoMC has spent decades building innovative ways to help healthcare organizations support their patients in improving their health behavior. We recognize the importance of the coordination of an individual’s physical, behavioral and social care needs, and our Incedo Behavioral Health Solution aims to provide person-centered care. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us today!