What Is Integrated Behavioral Health?

  • September 30, 2019
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Integrated Behavioral Health

For centuries, doctors have worked to isolate problems within patients and develop treatment plans. They believed that as long as they could find the root of a problem, they could fix it. 

However, more medical professionals are starting to realize that the body is more connected than they realize. There is rarely one single factor affecting a patient’s mental or physical health. This is where integrated behavioral health comes in and allows medical professionals to take a comprehensive approach to treatment. 

What Is Integrated Behavioral Health? 

Integrated behavioral health is the idea that your mental and physical health are closely intertwined, and one is able to directly affect the other. Instead of isolating mental and physical treatment, integrated behavioral health brings them together. 

According to Alvernia University, up to 80% of patients who come to primary care practices or emergency departments have behavioral health problems – and up to 70% of these patients don’t receive treatment for their conditions. 

This is because doctors only have the time and resources to treat the immediate issue, and sometimes they even lack the training to assess the mental health of a patient while they treat them physically. Also, many patients don’t follow through with mental health treatment recommendations, because they don’t want the added time or cost of meeting with a specialist.   

Why Is Integrated Behavioral Health Important?

Patients of all walks of life struggle to maintain their mental health when their physical health is affected. When doctors ignore these mental warning signs, patients often have no understanding of their need to seek treatment. 

As a result, many mental problems are left unchecked and grow considerably worse until the need for a mental consult is essential. Even if the patient fully recovers from an injury or illness, conditions like PTSD can linger because of the problem. 

An understanding of the mental and physical connection can also help doctors with physical ailments. They can better understand the sources of some physical problems and tie them back to the patient’s mental state. 

What Can Integrated Health Treat?

There are a variety of medical problems that integrated behavioral health can treat. One example is chronic diseases. Patients with chronic diseases are three to four times more likely to have behavioral health problems. For example, they are more likely to experience depression or face anger or emotional imbalances due to their medication.

Integrated behavioral health can also show the power that the mind has over the body. 

For example, a patient experiencing a panic attack may be under mental duress, which causes their heart rate to increase, makes their breathing difficult, and may cause dizziness. Doctors can better understand these symptoms if they understand the mental health of a patient.   

Learn More at Sunshine Health

At Sunshine Behavioral Medicine, we focus on integrated behavioral health and assess all of our patients for their mental as well as their physical state. This gives us a comprehensive view of their health and allows us to send our patients home knowing that they have been fully treated. We understand how issues like pain and anxiety can manifest themselves in both mental and physical ways, and know how to treat them both together.    

Don’t isolate your medical treatment. Your mental and physical health are equally important. To learn more, call us at 850-432-3334 or contact us today to request an appointment.