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Mental Health vs. Behavioral Health

Some use mental health and behavioral health interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two. Here’s how to know the difference between mental health and behavioral health.

mental health

In This Article:

  • Mental health relates to a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Common conditions include bipolar disorder, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.
  • Behavioral health conditions usually result from unhealthy habits that negatively affect a person’s physical and mental state. These can include alcohol and substance use disorders, eating disorders, gambling disorders and sex addiction.
  • Depending on a person’s condition, symptoms and exhibited behaviors, treatment may include medication, counseling, or a combination of both. Treatment is personalized to each person’s condition and life circumstances.

Shifting the conversation from mental or behavioral health to brain health can help decrease the stigma and discrimination that people sometimes associate with seeking treatment.

—Dr. Alicia Cowdrey