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Anxiety Disorders Guide


Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Many people worry about things such as health, money, or family problems. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.

Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder. One can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.


  • Take care of your body: Staying physically healthy can improve your emotional well-being. Here are some ways to improve your health:
    • Eat healthy. Have fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat or no-fat dairy. Limit foods with unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugars. See Healthy Eating Tips.
    • Get enough sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to help you sleep better. Adults need 7 or more hours per night.
    • Move more and sit less. Every little bit of physical activity helps. Start small and build up to 2 ½ hours a week. You can break it into smaller amounts such as 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Choose not to drink, or drink in moderation on days you drink alcohol. Moderation means having 2 drinks or less a day for men or 1 drink or less for women. Find out more at Drink Less, Be Your Best.
  • Avoid using illegal drugs or prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed. Don’t take someone else’s prescription. Substance use treatment is available, and recovery starts with asking for help.
  • Avoid smoking, vaping, and the use of other tobacco products.
  • Continue with regular health appointments, tests, screenings, and vaccinations.
  • Make time to unwind. 
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. 
  • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community-based or faith-based organizations.
  • Talk to your doctor.


The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT teaches you to manage anxiety. It does this by helping you understand how you think and act when you’re anxious. CBT includes homework and activities. These build your skills to cope with anxiety step by step. CBT can be done in a group or one-on-one. It often takes place for a set number of sessions. CBT has two main parts:
    • Cognitive therapy: This helps you identify the negative, irrational thoughts that occur with your anxiety. You’ll learn to replace these with more positive, realistic thoughts.
    • Behavioral therapy: This helps you change how you react to anxiety. You’ll learn coping skills and methods for relaxing to help you better deal with anxiety.
  • Medications: Anti-anxiety medicine can help to control your symptoms. It can help you feel less anxious. You may feel able to move forward with therapy. Your healthcare provider will tell you when and how to use the medicine. It may be for use before situations that make you anxious. Or you may be told to take the medicine on a regular schedule. 



Your Behavioral Health benefits include:

  • Assessment Services: Standard assessment of mental health needs and progress.
  • Behavioral Health Day Services/Day Treatment: Day treatment and adult day care services.
  • Behavioral Health Medical Services (Medication Management, Drug Screening): Services include evaluation of the need for medication; clinical effectiveness and side effects of medication; medication education; and prescribing, dispensing, and administering of psychiatric medications.
  • Behavioral Health Psychosocial Rehabilitation: Services to help people re-enter everyday life (cooking, managing money and performing household chores).
  • Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Analysis: Including health focused clinical interview, behavioral observations, and health and behavioral interviews for individual, group and family (with or without the patient).
  • Equine Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions and involves activities with horses.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Services: Services used to help people who are struggling with drug addiction.
  • Therapeutic Behavioral On-Site Services: Therapy services, behavior management, and therapeutic support are coordinated through individualized treatment teams to help members with complex needs from requiring placement in a more intensive, restrictive behavioral health setting.
  • Art Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions in an outpatient setting. Must be delivered by a behavioral health clinician with art therapy certification.
  • Therapy (individual or family): One-on-one individual mental health therapy.
  • Therapy (group): Mental health therapy in a group setting.
  • Pet Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions and involves activities with trained animals.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage of the soft body tissues to help injuries and reduce pain.
  • Non-Emergency Transportation Services: Transportation to and from all your medical appointments. This could be on the bus, a van that can transport people with disabilities, a taxi, or other kinds of vehicles.
  • Free Standing Psychiatric Inpatient:  Short-term alternative to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and provides brief intensive services for patients presenting in acute crisis.
  • Crisis Stabilization Unit Services (CSU): Emergency mental health services that are performed in a facility that is not a regular hospital.
  • Detoxification or Addiction Receiving Facility: Emergency substance abuse services that are performed in a facility that is not a regular hospital.
  • Mobile Crisis Assessment and Intervention: Emergency mental health services provided in the home, community, or school by a team of health care professionals.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Structured mental health treatment services provided in a hospital four-six hours each day for five days per week.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Intensive outpatient treatment for alcohol or drug services and behavioral health treatment or services.
  • Ambulatory Detoxification Services: Services without extended onsite monitoring provides clinical and medical management of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms (from alcohol and other drugs) on an outpatient basis in a community setting.
  • Peer Support Services: Services to help people who are in recovery from an addiction or mental illness.
  • Drop-In Center Services: A social club offering peer support and a flexible schedule of activities.
  • Infant Mental Health Pre and Post Testing Services: Testing services by a mental health Services professional with special training in infants and young children.
  • Community Based Wraparound Services: Individualized care planning and care management service to support children with complex needs who are at risk of placement in a mental health treatment facility.
  • Short Term Residential Treatment: Short term residential treatment program for pregnant women with substance use disorder.
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy: Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is an evidenced based practice of intensive treatment for troubled youth delivered in multiple settings. This program aims to promote pro-social behavior and reduce criminal activity, mental health symptomology, out-of-home placements, and illicit substance use.


Earn cash rewards through Sunshine Health My Health Pays programs:

  • Substance Use Health Coaching: Ages 12 years and up. Complete three coaching sessions with a Care Manager in three months. Enrollment in Case Management and signed consent form are required. Earn $10.
  • Post Behavioral Health Admission Follow up Visit: Earn rewards for attending an outpatient follow up appointment with a behavioral health provider within seven days after discharge from an inpatient facility. Earn $20.


  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - it’s like 911tel, but it’s 988. Dial 988 for confidential, free, 24/7/365 support from a trained counselor for mental health, substance use or suicidal crisis. You can also text 988 for support (English only).
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Call 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662- 4357).
  • NAMI HelpLine is available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. Connect by phone at 1-800-950-6264 or text "Helpline" to 62640. For more information, visit
  • Sunshine Health’s Behavioral Health Crisis Line. Call 1-866-796-0530 (TTY 1-800-955-8770). We are here 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Resources available on our crisis line include coping with behavioral health crisis, how to help a friend and information on suicide prevention helplines.
  • The Trevor Project (hotline for LGBT youth): 1-866-488-7386
  • Chat is available 24/7:
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860. Hotline for transgender people (volunteers and staff are transgender, as well.)
  • Crisis Text Line: 741-741. Trained crisis counselor replies within minutes.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1.
  • National Crisis Text Line for the Deaf: Text HAND to 839863
  • Sunshine Health Community Resource Database: Find more free resources through Sunshine Health’s Community Resource Database. Enter your ZIP code to search for help with food, shelter, healthcare, money, school, jobs and more.

Contact Member Services or your Care Manager to learn about several programs, including:

  • HAPPY: 24/7 emotional support to address loneliness and social isolation
  • Hazel Health: School-based telehealth program to improve access to both behavioral and medical care in schools
  • Choose Tomorrow: Suicide Prevention Program
  • METS: Members Empowered to Succeed, support recovery and resiliency


Contact Sunshine Health Member Services at 1-866-796-0530 (TTY 1-800-955-8770) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.