Behavioral Health Trends in Medicine
Let’s face it, drugs are not the best answer to all medical conditions. No matter what the symptom, there seems to be a medication to treat it. Whether it is indigestion, acid reflux, insomnia, anxiety, depression, hypertension, or headaches, there is a pill for it. For the most part, these drugs only treat the symptoms temporarily. They usually are not getting to the cause of the problem or stopping the symptoms permanently.
Behavioral health training is an area that takes into account a person’s behavior and the role it plays in their health and overall well-being. What are some of the things that a person does that can affect their health and well-being? Here is a partial list: physical activity, eating, sleep, attitude or outlook on life.
Healthcare providers are beginning to acquire additional training so that they can help patients to become and stay more healthy. Does your doctor follow the old drug model, asking what is the symptom and then quickly prescribing a medication? If your doctor is incorporating behavioral health into their practice then they will be asking you about much more than your symptoms. Some of the kinds of questions that you should expect to be asked are: What kind of work do you do? How much do you exercise? What kinds of foods do you eat? Do you smoke? How much alcohol do you drink? Do you use any drugs? What is your social life like? Are you married? Do you have children?
These questions are not because the doctor just wants to get in your business. All of these things can play a part in your health and well-being. This is related to the idea that we are mind, body, and spirit and what affects one part affects the whole. There are other elements outside of the person that can play a part in health and wellness that would also come under the heading of behavioral health like where you live and what the environment is. Things like pollution, overcrowding, lack of proper nutritional food sources, and high crime which could make some kinds of exercise difficult can all have effects on a person’s health.
Some health care facilities are incorporating counseling and training in these areas so that patients realize the effects these factors can have and they work with them on what is in their power to make positive changes. Some of these programs include patient education, meditation, biofeedback, exercise, yoga, nutritional counseling, and more. Often when these kinds of things are addressed and lifestyle changes are made better results are gained than with medication or medication alone.
I no longer will even consider working with healthcare facilities or providers that don’t include working with me on the kinds of things that I can do or consider that could have an effect on my health in addition to advising me on medications that may help.