There are several areas that may be affected in an individual’s life when they have challenges with a substance abuse disorder. In the past, mental health covered nearly every behavior or condition under one umbrella, but in the last decade or so, advances and discoveries in the field of human behavior have allowed for more specific labeling and categories.
For example, when it comes to substance abuse disorder, it’s true that mental health challenges often go hand-in-hand with addiction. However, the first area professionals examine will most likely fall under the category of behavioral health.
What Is Behavioral Health?
Behavioral health encompasses a fairly large area of human behaviors and actions that may directly impact physical and mental health. Think of it like it – physical and mental health make up our overall wellness.
Behavioral health is the actions and habits that become one of the driving forces behind that physical and mental wellness. Things like eating habits, hygiene habits, and other dynamics all come together to form behavioral health.
When professionals provide services for behavioral health, they study links between different habits in an individual’s life to understand how they directly affect the quality of additional areas. In terms of substance abuse disorder, a user’s daily habits will be studied in relation to the addiction to better understand how they influence each other.
Because behavioral health is such a wide-ranging category, multiple types of services exist under this discipline. What are some more specific behavioral health services available?
What Are Some Behavioral Health Services?
There are multiple services and professional areas of practice that fall under the category of behavioral health services. Listed below are some common examples included under this category.
Substance Abuse Disorder
Substance abuse disorder services fall under the category of behavioral health. Mental health professionals study the habits of clients to understand how these habits influence substance abuse and vice-versa. This is done through a variety of different forms of therapy, such as dual-diagnosis treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other services.
Services for individuals who suffer from eating disorders also fall under the category of behavioral health. This is actually one of the most common examples of behavioral health services, as eating is one of the most frequently studied behaviors for mental health counselors.
Treatment for gambling addiction is another great example of a behavioral health service. These practices study an individual’s compulsive behaviors in relation to their gambling challenges.
Understanding what some of the more specific behavioral health services are, the types of clients that benefit from these services becomes more clear.
Who Benefits from Behavioral Health Services?
If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you may find relief by participating in behavioral health services:
- Substance Abuse
- Sleeping Problems
These are some of the most common challenges addressed during behavioral health treatment sessions. One of the most popular forms of behavioral health treatment is addiction. Let’s examine more specifically how addiction is approached during behavioral health therapy.
Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment
Individuals who suffer from addiction challenges can potentially experience a wide range of addictions. These challenges don’t necessarily have to stem from substance abuse, although typically, this is one of the most commonly treated forms of addiction.
Many times, the mind of an individual suffering from addiction works in the same manner regardless of the substance or habit of choice. Behavioral therapy would explain addiction in a different way than other models of treatment would.
The Specialties of Behavioral Health Therapists
Behavioral therapists don’t believe the drug or the act at the center of the addiction is responsible, nor do they believe these challenges are brain diseases. Their belief states that when individuals can separate themselves from the behaviors associated with their addiction, recovery may successfully occur.
Specific types of treatments are used during therapy for addiction and other types of behavioral health challenges, depending on the individual. In the following section, we’ll outline some of the most commonly used forms of behavioral therapy.
Therapies with Behavioral Health Approaches
Listed below are some of the most popular therapies that take a behavioral health approach.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT has increased in popularity over the last several years and combines behavioral and cognitive therapy elements. This form of treatment focuses on how an individual’s thoughts and behaviors directly influence their actions and moods. Normally the focus remains on the current problems in the client’s life and how to change them.
Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy
This form of therapy is specifically aimed at children who have a difficult time expressing their feelings or emotions. Children are asked to choose from various toys they’re allowed to play with. Counselors observe the children’s interactions and how they display their emotions during these play sessions to gauge how they handle certain feelings.
Desensitization is a form of therapy that assists individuals who have phobias and other fear-based behavioral challenges. Clients are slowly exposed to the sources of their fears, with increased exposure as time goes on. The goal is the eventual elimination of the phobia.
Aversion therapy is designed to help a client avoid a specific behavioral pattern. The behavior will be associated with an undesirable stimulus using electrical, chemical, or imagined situations.
What Can Behavioral Health Services Help With?
Behavioral health services can help with a variety of different conditions and disorders. Some of the most common challenges include:
Clients that have an irrational fear or phobia of people, places, or things usually experience benefits from behavioral therapy approaches. Desensitization and cognitive behavioral therapy approaches are usually the most effective for these types of disorders.
Different forms usually treat obsessive and compulsive disorders of behavioral treatments. Normally aversion therapy is the treatment of choice for these types of challenges.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often the most effective form of treatment against various forms of trauma. These traumas may be grief, loss, or abuse-based and can have a variety of different characteristics and symptoms.
There are hundreds of different types of addictions, and normally cognitive-behavioral therapy is called upon to treat these challenges. Substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, gambling addictions, sex addictions, body mutilation, and other forms of addictions have been treated successfully using CBT.
One of the most recent trends in behavioral health services is dual-diagnosis, specifically in the substance abuse category.
Dual-Diagnosis and Behavioral Health Services
Dual-diagnosis treatment has grown increasingly popular in mental health practices and various substance abuse treatment centers. There has been an increased focus by rehab facilities to place a significant emphasis on the mental health portion of substance abuse.
Rather than focusing on substance abuse as a moral issue or a disease of the mind, this approach relies on treating underlying mental health or behavioral issue to remedy the addiction. There are multiple types of mental health disorders at the center of substance abuse challenges, with different forms of behavioral therapies used to treat them.
Some of the most common mental health disorders that are thought to manifest substance abuse issues are:
- Anxiety and panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Dual-diagnosis treatment includes regular education regarding substance abuse and the mental health disorders individuals experience. This is done through a combination of one-on-one counseling with mental health professionals during talk therapy and group recovery sessions.
These group recovery sessions can be similar to a 12-step meeting program or similar. The idea is to engage with others going through similar situations to vent and express emotions toward the situation and gain new perspectives and fresh insights on these challenges.
Individuals may also participate in dialectic-behavioral therapy with the goal of reducing self-harming behaviors. These self-harming behaviors often accompany both the substance abuse half of the disorder and the mental health portion.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also used during dual-diagnosis treatment. This works to minimalize problematic behaviors and develop healthier ones in place to develop a healthier thinking pattern.
Normally, the most effective course of action for these challenges is a residential treatment that combines behavioral health services. What do these residential treatment programs consist of?
Residential Treatment and Behavioral Health
Residential treatment and behavioral health services can be very effective when used in combination. This gives clients an opportunity to take the most proactive approach towards mental health challenges, as daily sessions with professionals are scheduled and integrated group therapy.
Clients will meet with a variety of counselors that make up their specific treatment team, undergoing education and awareness regarding mental health and substance abuse. Clients are also encouraged to participate in group counseling sessions throughout the day, similar to 12-step recovery meetings.
Family counseling sessions may also be integrated into their personalized treatment plans. This can be effective for repairing relationships with family members and loved ones in an effort to stabilize the home environment upon graduation.
Personalized Behavioral Health Plans
Clients also receive a personalized meal plan to promote nutrition, which leads to better overall mental and physical health. Certain physical activities are also available as a therapeutic form of relief.
Clients will also work with counselors throughout their stay to craft an aftercare plan. Aftercare plans outline the client’s course of action after exiting inpatient treatment.
This may include continued appointments with mental health professionals, locations for group recovery sessions, and crafting a strong support system. The support system dynamic is one of the most important post-treatment, as this will help clients with the strength and encouragement they need to continue to be proactive and prevent relapse.
Behavioral health as an outpatient service may also be effective in some cases. Certain situations may not allow inpatient services, in which case outpatient options can be an appropriate backup plan.
Behavioral Health as Outpatient Services
The type of treatment clients participate in regarding residential, outpatient, and hospitalization is known as their level of care. Outpatient level of care may be the most appropriate option in certain situations.
The following situations may warrant participation in outpatient services instead of inpatient:
- If the behavioral challenges are considered less severe
- The length of time clients experience these challenges is lower
- Clients that can’t miss work or be away from the home
- When clients have an extremely strong support system that promotes a healthy environment during outpatient services
During outpatient services, clients normally have access to the same types of treatment and group meetings as individuals in inpatient. However, they may not be as intensive, and clients aren’t required to live within the facility.
Normally, outpatient services are classified under two different categories. There are standard outpatient services and intensive outpatient services.
The standard version normally requires at least nine hours of participation per week. Intensive outpatient services will normally be extended up to 20 hours per week.
Continuing Recovery with Behavioral Health Outpatient Care
One advantage clients have when participating in outpatient services is the ability to continue treatment with their primary care mental health counselors. They’ll also have the option to attend additional group recovery meetings at different locations.
Additionally, because clients are still living at home and actively engaging with family members and loved ones, they’ll get a chance to exercise the things they learn in real-time. This allows them to gauge the effectiveness of their treatment and make adjustments if necessary.
It should be noted that outpatient treatment requires a higher level of willpower to continue to dedicate the required amount of hours and attend services on a regular basis. This is made easier through a strong support system and assistance from family members or loved ones.
Long-term recovery is possible for any substance abuse or behavioral health challenge with the right treatment team and a personalized plan.
Setting the Stage for Long-term Recovery
Clients have a much greater chance of long-term recovery through participation in the right inpatient or outpatient treatment center. Additionally, long-term recovery also requires an efficient aftercare plan with the right support systems in place.
At Circle of Hope, we assist clients through inpatient and outpatient services. We also place a special focus on preparing clients with a strong aftercare plan and assistance in building a strong support system.
If you or someone you love is experiencing substance abuse or behavioral health challenges, contact a member of our team today. We’ve helped thousands of clients achieve recovery, and we’d like to help you on your journey as well.