What do Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, and Jay-Z all have in common? They’ve seen a therapist to combat a behavioral health issue.
About 22.2 percent of adults between the ages of 26 and 49 are living with a behavioral health disorder. And 15 percent of adults 60 years and over are living with one as well.
Behavioral health sounds like a fancy medical term, but it’s really about your overall wellbeing. Behavioral health and mental health tend to overlap, but there are differences between the two.
Behavioral health is the condition of behavioral disorders and includes mental health — which focuses on psychological, emotional, and social conditions.
Mental health conditions include — but are not limited to:
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
While behavioral health disorders include:
- Drug, alcohol, and chemical abuse disorders
- Eating disorders
- Addictions, like gambling
Many of these conditions can be treated — and you do not even need an official diagnosis to receive treatment.
Whether you are dealing with grief, anger, or relapse in negative behavior — a behavioral health specialist can help.
Here are 5 facts about getting help for behavioral health issues.
1. Behavioral Health Problems Are Actually Very Common — and Still Stigmatized
- About 1 in 5 adults live with a behavioral health issue — approximately 46.6 million people.
- Only 42.6% of those adults receive treatment.
- About 7.1% of children aged 3 to 17 years diagnosed anxiety and 3.2% have diagnosed depression.
- About 15% of adults 60 years and over are living with a behavioral health disorder.
- In a survey, 21% of respondents share that they or their loved ones don’t receive needed behavioral health care.
5 Things to Know About Behavioral Health
Behavioral health issues are associated with feelings of humiliation and judgment. When you live with a behavioral health condition — especially if you are unaware of it — you may confuse feeling bad with being bad. You may also tend to isolate yourself to keep your condition a secret from those close to you.
The misconceptions and misinformation about behavioral health disorders can cause a cycle of people not speaking up. The stigma surrounding behavioral health is a contributing factor — in fact, 56% of adults living with a behavioral health disorder don’t receive treatment.
2. Even If You Don’t Have a Diagnosis, You Can Still Seek Treatment
Most behavioral health disorders can be treated, even if the symptoms are vague and obscure, such as:
- Low energy
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Increase of substance use, like alcohol, chemicals, or drugs
- More confrontations with family and friends
- Troubling thoughts and memories
The first step to treatment is getting diagnosed. No matter the severity of your condition, document your moods and habits — and how frequently they occur — to share with a mental health professional.
Behavioral health specialists customize care based on each individual’s need. Some symptoms are easier to recognize than others.
Ways to diagnose a behavioral health disorder include:
- Physical exams — to rule out a physical condition as the cause of symptoms
- Lab tests — to screen for substance abuse and rule out hormonal conditions as the cause of symptoms
- Psychological evaluations — to make a formal diagnosis
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed, contact a behavioral health care provider at Stormont Vail Health.
3. You Can Recover from Behavioral Health Issues
Many people with behavioral health issues can get better. Recovering from — or learning to manage — the condition happens over time, but the speed of resolving the symptoms is different for everyone. As long as you stay consistent and confront moments of relapse, then you can likely get better.
Developing a written treatment plan is the key to being successful. Having clear goals and being realistic in the timeframe can motivate you — and break the cycle of hiding this issue from yourself and your loved ones.
A good treatment plan includes:
- Setting specific goals, both short- and long-term
- Sticking to daily activities
- Tracking changes in your behavioral health symptoms
- Identifying and managing triggers and stressors that can make you feel worse
4. You Can Prevent Your Condition from Getting Worse
Prevention plays a crucial role in addressing behavioral health issues.
Preventing certain symptoms of behavioral health issues means discussing certain risk factors with your health care provider, such as:
- Exposure to trauma
- Stressors and triggers within your environment
- Your family’s mental health history
5. Health Insurance Plans May Cover Treatment
A study conducted in 2016 reported that 21 percent of respondents said they or a family member did not receive needed mental health care. Of those respondents, 13 percent shared it was because they couldn’t afford it.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage of behavioral health care to 60 million Americans. The law prevents discrimination — such as denying coverage or charging higher premiums — because of your behavioral health issue. This may mean your treatment can be covered by insurance.