As more Americans were struggling with behavioral and mental health challenges, the services of mental health counselors have seen more demand. But what behavioral health disorders can a mental health counselor treat?
Quick Recap: Behavioral vs. Mental Health
The terms behavioral and mental health are often used synonymously, but a few differences are worth noting. While mental health is concerned with a person’s overall state of mind, behavioral health care focuses more on daily cognitive habits.
What we do regularly has a significant impact on our physical and mental health. It is especially true for habits related to eating, sleeping, alcohol consumption, and even socializing. Establishing healthy routines can help prevent mental and behavioral health conditions. If someone is already suffering from those conditions, behavioral health care can help them get back on track.
What a Mental Health Counselor Does
Mental health counselors offer a variety of psychotherapy – also known as talk therapy – services to guide their clients through challenging periods of their lives.
They often start by identifying the root causes or triggers of a condition before working out a personalized course of treatment. Most counselors address a wide variety of shapes, although some have specialized in treating one or two only.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Those figures put mental health concerns among the most common health conditions in the United States. The pandemic only accelerated their spread.
Every year, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with a mental or behavioral health condition. Like physical health, mental health can change throughout a person’s lifetime. Moreover, mental health conditions may occur at every age, including children and seniors.
Conditions Mental Health Counselors Can Treat
Mental health counselors address various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Those two are the most common mental health concerns for people in the United States.
According to selected estimates from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey, more than 10% of Americans over the age of 18 regularly feel worried, nervous, or anxious. That makes anxiety the most prevalent mental health concern in today’s the United States. 4.5% of Americans over 18 regularly feel depressed.
Mental health counseling can address these issues. Apart from depression and anxiety, mental health counselors can also address detrimental behaviors, including:
- Substance abuse
- Disordered eating patterns
At its most basic level, mental health counseling provides an opportunity to talk to someone who is trained to listen. Mental health counselors listen closely to your problems before asking specific targeted questions to help identify the causes of your mental health challenges.
For some clients, simply talking about their issues allows them to see a solution. Others need more assistance and guidance to work through the causes of their detrimental behaviors.
Contrast this with medications for conditions like depression and anxiety: while remedies are practical and helpful for many, drugs only work on the symptoms of your state, not the underlying causes.
Once these causes have been established, mental health counselors work with their clients to develop coping strategies. Coping better with mental health challenges starts with being able to admit to having a problem and discuss it openly.
In many cases, mental and behavioral health problems are triggered by a significant change in a person’s life. Bereavement and grief can turn into depression, for example, if they are left unaddressed. For most clients seeking mental health support, root causes and triggers are not obvious. Instead, they need to dig deep into their personal history with their counselor to identify what caused the issue.
Developing Coping Strategies
Mental health counselors teach their clients healthier coping and problem-solving strategies. That involves analyzing their sleeping patterns and working on better sleep hygiene in many cases. For others, coping strategies can include reprogramming negative thought patterns. Others again use exercise to deal with stressful situations and work through them before they can cause long-term health problems.
Counselors introduce their clients to more positive routines and behavioral patterns that help them balance mental and physical health. To achieve this, reputable mental health counselors use different types of psychotherapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most versatile and commonly used techniques to help clients understand their thought patterns and how they influence behavior. Psychodynamic therapy focuses more on using self-reflection and self-examination to uncover problematic behavior patterns.
How To Access Mental Health Counseling
Mental health conditions are as unique as the people experiencing them. For that reason, experienced counselors will take time to understand your situation and assess your problem before deciding on a course of treatment. People can access most mental health counseling services through in-person or online counseling.
Finding a counselor is accessible through a proven provider like TrueCare. Our nationwide network of fully qualified and licensed counselors ensures an expert available for you when and where you need support.