Compare Mental Disorders, Brain Disorders

The brain controls all human body activities, from thoughts, speech, movement, and memory. It also acts as a regulating organ for various parts of the body. A healthy brain functions automatically and quickly; however, the outcomes can be fatal when problems occur. Brain ailment or damage affects several areas including sensation, personality, and memory (Karimzadeh et al., 2017). Brain illnesses encompass any disabilities or conditions affecting the brain and include infections caused by an illness, traumatic injury, and genetics. Different brain disorders exist, including injuries, tumors, mental conditions, and neurodegenerative diseases (Marsh, 2018). The latter causes the nerves and brain to deteriorate with time, changing one’s personality and triggering confusion. Common symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases include forgetfulness, agitation, mood change, apathy, memory lapse, and inhibition. This paper seeks to compare mental disorders and behavioral brain disorders by highlighting various conditions under them.

Overview of Brain Injury

Most brain injuries result from blunt trauma that harms the neurons, brain tissue, and nervous system. The damage affects the ability of the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. Injuries include hematomas, bruising of brain tissues (commonly referred to as contusion), blood clots, swelling occurring inside the skull (or cerebral edema), stroke, and concussions (Borsboom et al., 2019). The treatment depends on the injury type and may involve medication, brain surgery, or rehabilitation. A mental disorder, also referred to as a psychiatric disorder or mental illness, is a cognitive or behavioral pattern which causes significant impairment or distress of a person’s functioning (Tracy, 2019). They may include anxiety, substance use, neurodevelopmental, mood, eating, and personality disorders.

The early development of the neurons is significant to the current mental health and disorder model. Behavioral illnesses, especially among children, usually denote their parents’ psychological problems. It happens as one of the parents’ mental illness increases the sickness in the infant or child (Newman et al., 2016). On the other hand, behavioral ailments encompass a pattern of actions that, in most cases, demonstrate a disruptive nature. Such behaviors mostly manifest in children, lasting for at least six months, resulting in problems at home, is social situations, and at school (Leichsenring et al., 2019). Nearly all people show some of these behaviors most times, although behavior disorders are more severe.

The Inherent Nature of Mental and Behavioral Disorders

Parental mental health is associated with the behavior of their children’s ailment. According to Newman et al. (2016), behavioral disorders among children depict their parents’ psychological problems. In reviewing the negative association between the diseases in children and parents, an analysis intended to determine their correlation showed a significant correlation (Keeley et al., 2016). It was evidenced in all dimensions of parents with behavioral disorders, indicating that depression of parents can be a foretelling variable of children’s behavioral disorders, with a predictive strength of 26.8% (Keeley et al., 2016). The analysis involved three types of behavioral disorders: childish behavior and ignorance, aggression, anxiety and withdrawal, and four mental health dimensions, encompassing depression, social, anxiety, and physical functioning.

Similarities between Mental Disorder and Behavioral Disorder


Behavioral and mental disorders are usually shared and affect approximately one in every five persons. According to Newman et al. (2018), out of five people, at least one of them has such a disorder or is affected by it in their lifetime. The two disorders are also common in all nations, representing a significant burden for developing nations’ public health. Newman et al., (2018) also state that the two disorders’ human cost is usually immense, while their treatment choices are limited. People suffering from behavioral and mental disorders often fail to respond to already available interventions in current health care systems (Hussain et al., 2020). The measurement or assessment of behavioral and mental disorders requires a set of subjective psychological data. The information includes the inner state of how a person feels, thinks and their perception and reliable information on their behavior over time (McDaniel et al., 2018). Therefore, the measurement principles in psychiatric epidemiology analyzed in both disorders include specific conditions, international aspects such as cross-culture issues, and dimension methods.


Both mental and behavioral disorders are characterized by alteration in mood, emotions, thinking, or behaviors connected to personal distress and impaired functioning. Both are not related within a ‘normal’ range but have an apparent pathological or abnormal phenomena. Keeley et al. (2016) state that a single peculiar behavior incident or a short period of the odd mood does not indicate mental or behavioral presence. Behavioral and mental disorders are common among patients that attend the primary healthcare setting (Marsh, 2018). Assessing the pattern and extent of the diseases on the grounds is fundamental due to the possibility of identifying persons with disorders and providing the required care at that level (Keeley et al., 2016). Epidemiological analyses in primary care settings rely on identifying mental disorders using instruments for primary care professionals’ screening or clinical diagnosis.

Similarity in Terms of Symptoms

Both disorders are usually grouped in relation to specific symptoms. The signs and symptoms typically follow a more or less predictable cause unless interventions are made. According to Hoch et al. (2019), not all forms of distress in humans result in mental disorders. People may have pain due to social or personal circumstances, lest all the significant criteria for a particular illness are met. Karimzadeh et al. (2017) argue that different ways of behaving and thinking across cultures influence mental disorder manifestation. Therefore, normal variations determined culturally need not be classified as mental disorders; besides, religious, social, and political ideologies cannot express or manifest mental diseases.

The similarity between the two disorders also manifests in their effects. Both behavioral and mental disorders impact the social life of their victims similarly. ADHD, or otherwise Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is an example of a behavioral disorder that impairs the ability to focus and manage impulsive behaviors properly or makes people overactive (Kumar et al., 2017). However, the disease is more prevalent in boys than in girls. In terms of diagnosis, their identification and diagnosis use similar clinical methods to those in physical ailments (Leichsenring et al., 2019). Such practices include an elaborate collection of historical data from different individuals, such as the family. More recent times have emerged in terms of standardization of clinical examination and improved diagnosis reliability.

The WHO on both Disorders

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies both behavioral and mental disorders as serious ailments. The clusters have been established to enable them to conform to the DSM-IV agreements or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition of the American Psychiatric Association, or APA (Hoch et al., 2019). The ICD-10 grouping of behavioral and mental disorders preserves parallel classes to the ones used in DSM-IV, although, as Karimzadeh et al. (2017) express, their descriptions often differ (Mohammadi & Garavand, 2017). However, the classification using ICD-10 does not utilize the ‘checklist method’ but instead provides a general description, and the primary required criteria.

Pain Resulting from the two Disorders

The similarity between the two disorders can be presented in terms of pain. For instance, any specified diagnosis, for example, depression or schizophrenia, can be made and indicate the cause of pain for a patient (Borsboom et al., 2019). The ICD-10 classification gives a category of Somato Persistent Pain Disorder, which corresponds to DSM-IV’s Persistent Somatoform Disorder (Leichsenring et al., 2019). The most predominant complaint in the ICD-10 is severe, distressing, and persistent pain inexplicable using psychological processes or physical disorders (Reed et al., 2016). The problem is presumably of psychological source, excluding schizophrenia or depressive pain experienced during the process.

The pains resulting from evidenced psychophysiological mechanisms are coded under behavioral or psychological factors. The pains include migraine or muscle tension pain, which is believed to result from psychogenic outcomes (Leichsenring et al., 2019). Such pain codes under behavioral and psychological factors are usually linked with diseases or disorders classified as muscle tension. However, Keeley et al. (2016) state that the common problem in ICD-10 comes when differentiating these disorders from the historical explanation of pains that result organically. Therefore, the category substantively deals with the pain serving as an unconscious reason.

Apart from having adverse effects on individuals or patients, the two disorders also impact families and communities. According to Hoch et al. (2019), patients suffer from distressing disorder symptoms because they fail to work and enjoy their leisure time, mostly due to discrimination. They often fear being other people’s burdens and always worry about not undertaking their responsibilities. Leichsenring et al. (2019) state that families with patients with the disorders not only provide emotional and physical support; they also share the devastating effects of discrimination and stigma. The challenge of carrying kin with a behavioral or mental disorder also results in economic constraints as they emotionally react to the illness (Marsh, 2018). Thus, the treatment expenses for persons with mental or behavioral disorders both depend on the family in terms of financial capability.

Most behavioral activities usually have the potential to result in a mental disorder if proper care is not considered. Some of the behavioral disorders include substance abuse disorder and pathological gambling conditions, which mostly affect young adults (Karimzadeh et al., 2017). Newman et al. (2016) observe that neuroscientists discovered that gambling and drugs alter the brain circuits the same way. The findings were revealed by various studies on electronic activity and blood flow in the brain when completing different tasks. In an experiment to determine the similarities between mental and behavioral disorders using gambling and substance abuse, and those suffering from a neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease, the outcome showed a close relation (Hoch et al., 2019). The research revealed that between 2% and 7% of Parkinson’s patients have compulsively gambled or continuously abused substances. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder which affects the nervous system. Specifically, it interferes with movements hence leading to deficiency or damage of neurons which produce dopamine in the midbrain section.

Differences between Mental and Behavioral Disorders

All human activities can potentially affect health in one way or another. How people take their diet, sleep, and perform day to day activities impacts the general health (Marsh, 2018). The physical strength of the human body is essential even when it comes to how they feel, think, and act since all the actions related to mental and behavioral health (Newman et al., 2016). The two terms are often used interchangeably, despite the distinction between them. Their difference manifests in their diagnosis and treatment, with different approaches also existing in their management (Karimzadeh et al., 2017). Behavioral disorders deal with people’s specific actions, while mental disorders are concerned with their feelings and thoughts. Behavioral health is, therefore, connected with how people respond in various situations; for instance, two people experiencing similar emotions may react differently.

On the other hand, mental health and disorders focus on how people think, feel, act. The latter is specific to biological factors influencing our minds’ state (Keeley et al., 2016). The significant difference between other psychiatric disorders and behavioral disorders is noticeable when it comes to choice presence. Most mental illnesses are considered to be involuntary, while behavioral disorders have essential choices (Hussain et al., 2020). According to Leichsenring et al. (2019), most behavioral disorders usually emanate from the people’s choices. Thus, unlike mental disorders that result from activities not conscious in the human mind, the behavioral disorder is voluntary.

Age and Genetics

The behavioral disorder differs from a mental illness in children. Most children are usually impulsive, defiant, and naughty during a specific period and are considered normal. However, Kumar et al. (2017) state that some children have more challenging and difficult behaviors outside the norm. A renowned disruptive behavior among children includes defiant disorder, ADHD, and conduct disorder (Hoch et al., 2019). Mental disorders in children are mostly exhibited by severe changes in how they behave, learn, and react (Newman et al., 2016). Healthcare professionals utilize the guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatrist Association to diagnose mental health disorders among children (Keeley et al., 2016). Therefore, the diagnosis of disruptive behavioral disorders among children may be complicated as a result of various factors such as stress.

Severe stress in children, such as grievance because of a close family member’s death, poses a long-term effect on them. The diagnosis of such a disorder can be undertaken if the child meets the criteria of disruptive behavioral disorders in the DSM and the Standard Manual of Mental Disorders from APA (Marsh, 2018). The presence of three major behavioral disorders in children, such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder, usually present challenges to many parents. They experience difficulty, especially when the child is affected by two simultaneous disorders (Karimzadeh et al., 2017). As a result of the condition, parents may also encounter emotional problems, family problems, and mood disorders.

Careers Associated with the Disorders

The two disorders also show a significant distinction in terms of the careers associated with each of them. A person studying mental disorders may become a licensed therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and gerontological social worker (Keeley et al., 2016). A licensed family and marriage therapist works directly with families and couples, examining their close relationship and how it influences their support system and overall health. Specifically, the therapist helps to address chronic stress and emotional abuse by relating them to an individual’s way of life. The therapist also blends empirical evidence through relationship-building to formulate effective treatment (Leichsenring et al., 2019). Practitioners in behavioral disorders differ from those in mental disorders. Examples of personnel who deal with behavioral disorders include substance abuse counselors, clinical health psychologists, addiction psychiatrists, and psychologists found in schools. Substance abuse counselors work with addicts on the recovery process and also help them to manage stress.

School psychologists assist students with issues of mental health and behavioral disorders, which include bullying, drug use, and their actions both inside and out of class. They also play a critical role in supporting students with disabilities to learn and also to enhance their academic status (Marsh, 2018). Thus, they are responsible for the care of their patient’s cultural, social, biological, and psychological life.

Comparison between Alzheimer’s Disease (Mental Disorder) and Gambling Addiction (Behavioral Disorder)

In most cases, behavioral disorder requires conscious choice, unlike mental illness. Substance-related disorders such as anorexia nervosa and Alzheimer’s disease offer a perfect example in contrasting the behavioral and mental disorders (Borsboom et al., 2019). Substance abuse, in most cases, commences when people misuse or abuse substance for self-medication or to cope with an issue in existence. According to Keeley et al. (2016), substance abuse may first seem normal to people during the initial stages. In the United States alone, over 19.7 million adult persons experience this form of abuse in 2017 alone. However, the behavior gradually becomes worse, becoming a problem itself.

Similarly, people who gamble are also likely to develop an addiction after a while. Keeley et al. (2016) state that pathological gambling is regarded as more compulsion than a habit. It is a behavior motivated by the urgency to ease anxiety rather than craving for a strained pleasure. Karimzadeh et al. (2017) state that many healthcare professionals usually classify pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder. Gambling is known for stimulating the brain’s reward system, leading to the overproduction of dopamine (Hoch et al., 2019). Dopamine creates a need to pursue behaviors that are of risk. In many instances, the effect of gambling is usually withdrawal.

Unlike substance abuse and pathological gambling, Alzheimer’s disease does not manifest voluntarily. Hussain et al. (2020) opine that everyone at one point has a memory lapse, which is deemed as a regular occurrence. However, the memory loss connected to Alzheimer’s disease worsens as it persists, affecting functional ability. Gambling and substance abuse do not interfere much with the way people remember, nor do they impair memory (Karimzadeh et al., 2017). Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is known for making it difficult for people to recall recent conversations and events. As the disorder progresses, it accelerates the impairment of memory, thereby developing other symptoms.

In conclusion, various factors determine the onset, prevalence, and course of behavioral and mental disorders. Poverty and condition connected to unemployment, homelessness, slower education levels, and deprivation affect many people today. These conditions are the leading causes of disorders in both developing and developed countries. In order to reduce the difficulties that parents with affected children undergo, it is crucial for organizations, governments and agencies concerned to equip them with proper knowledge about various brain disorders. Teachers should also be trained on how they can handle students with brain disorders.


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