The difference between behavioral & mental health
Behavioral health is a broad term that includes mental health, as well as emotional well-being and substance use disorder. It’s a term that focuses on supporting your whole self — because what you think, feel and do has impacts on both your mental and physical states.
Understanding substance use disorder
Substance use disorder is when a person has patterns of symptoms from using a substance they continue to take, despite experiencing problems as a result. A substance can be alcohol, illegal or legal drugs, and even prescription medications, like opioids.
Start with these questions
Everyone can benefit from support
Behavioral health specialists can help you even if you’re just experiencing everyday stress. But to see if it might be something more, consider these questions.
- Do you find that you’re worrying a lot lately?
- Have you felt overly restless, edgy or irritable?
- Are you having trouble focusing or finishing tasks?
- Are you having difficulty falling or staying asleep?
- Are you drinking, vaping or using tobacco more?
Don't let stigma be a barrier
Stigma is when someone views a person in a negative way because they have a mental health condition.1 In fact, stigma often refers to the negative things we tell ourselves, which can prevent us from getting care. Examples of negative self-talk include:
- “I can handle this all on my own.”
- “Getting help would be embarrassing.”
- “I have more important things to do.”
Just like we see doctors for physical health symptoms, we need to see specialists for mental health symptoms, too.
Common behavioral health conditions
People with anxiety tend to have persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.2 Over time, these symptoms can take a physical toll. If chronic fear or worry is affecting your life, then it’s time to get help.
A sense of apprehension or dread
Feeling restless, nervous or irritable
Having a racing or pounding heart
Feeling you can't catch your breath
Having an upset stomach or 'knots'
People with depression have a series of symptoms — including hopelessness — that lasts longer than two weeks.3 There are many reasons for these symptoms, including isolation. Please get help if any of these symptoms apply to you.
Feeling hopeless or guilty
Loss of interest in activities
Having trouble concentrating
Having physical aches and pains
Changes in sleep or appetite
Substance use disorder
People with substance use disorder can’t control the use of legal or illegal drugs, alcohol or medications.4 Quitting is not a matter of willpower or choice. Substance use disorder causes physical and mental changes in your brain.
- Feeling you need alcohol or drugs to function
- Withdrawal from friends and family who care
- Sudden changes in your mood or behavior
- Engaging in risky behaviors with consequences
- Having a high tolerance, or withdrawal symptoms
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD
People with ADHD tend to have behaviors like inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.6 It mostly affects children, but adults are diagnosed with it, too. You or your child might be more susceptible to ADHD if it runs in the family.
- Jumping from one activity to the next
- Becoming bored with a task quickly
- Struggling to listen or follow directions
- Fidgeting or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty taking turns, waiting or sharing
Mental health guidance for members
Get tips on living a balanced life, hear from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members and see your options for care.
Good health unites all of us. Get tips for a strong mind-body connection.See all members' guide
You've got the most important job in the world. Let us help you through it.See parents' guide
Make time for your behavioral health with these programs and services.See women's guide
Check in on your mental fitness and learn how to get confidential support.See men's guide
Short- and long-term effects of binge drinking
Learn the definition of binge drinking and how it can affect you now and in the future.Learn about drinking
What is stigma?
Get to know stigma and how it contributes to poor mental fitness outcomes.Get the facts on stigma
Talking about your family’s mental health history
Understand the importance of being open about mental health and get tips on how to start the conversation.Start the conversation
- Stigma Free, National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Anxiety Disorders, National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Depression, National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health
- Substance Use Disorders, National Alliance on Mental Illness
- ADHD, National Alliance on Mental Illness
The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this webpage is intended to be, nor should be used as or relied upon as, professional medical advice. Nothing contained on this webpage is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. For medical advice, or to receive medical diagnosis or treatment, consult with your health care provider.