Reviewed by Rashonda Douthit, LCSW
Do you have social anxiety or think that you might? If so, you're likely seeking support. Living with anxiety can be lonely, and peer support is beneficial for many individuals. Here's some information about some of the most popular social anxiety forums you'll find online, as well as information about social anxiety itself and how to know if you have a social anxiety disorder.
What Is A Social Anxiety Forum?
A social anxiety forum is an online forum created for social anxiety or social anxiety disorder (SAD). Forums aren't a replacement for mental health treatment or therapy, but they provide a supportive environment where you can meet peers who struggle with the same thing. People join support forums so that they feel less alone and talk about what they're going through. Whether you have social anxiety, another mental health condition such as depression or substance use disorder, or if you're going through something like divorce or loss, there's a support forum online for you. There are even forums for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, specific religions, and other communities. When you're able to interact with others who face the same things in life, you feel less alone, which is why peer support is a lifeline for many.
What Are The Best Social Anxiety Forums?
Here are some notable social anxiety forums to check out if you're struggling with social anxiety.
Social Anxiety Support
Social Anxiety Support or socialanxietysupport.com is a website with a blog and forum made for social anxiety people. The website's straightforward name makes it easy to find, and their forum is very active. Click here to visit the forum on the socialanxietysupport.com website.
Social Anxiety Forum On mentalhealthforum.net
The mental health forum website has a variety of forums created for specific mental health concerns. There's a forum for bipolar disorder, eating disorders, depression, OCD, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), personality disorders, PTSD, and more on the website. Click here to visit the social anxiety forum on mentalhealthforum.net.
Social Phobia Forum On psychforums.com
Psych Forums or psychforums.com is another website with a variety of forums for different mental health concerns. There are forums dedicated to anger management, grief, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, and even subcategories for all members who just want to chat and have fun on the website. Subcategories on the site dedicated to conditions and topics are less commonly spoken about, such as factitious disorders. Click here to check out the social phobia forum on psychforums.net.
Social Phobia World
Social Phobia World or socialphobiaworld.com is a website that focuses specifically on forums for social anxiety and social phobia. There's a subcategory for related disorders in addition to forums about treatment, relationships, and more. If you have social anxiety, you'll find some topics to relate to on this site. Click here to access the self-described "most user-friendly social anxiety forum."
At the end of the day, what makes a social anxiety forum, the best one is subjective. The best social anxiety support forum for you is the forum where you feel most comfortable. You want to make sure that the social anxiety support form you join is helpful, supportive, accepting, and kind. As with anything in life, but especially matters that exist on the internet, such as those related to social media or social websites, you want to ask yourself how it makes you feel. If there's any question, check-in with yourself and see if a forum, website, or app is good for you or if it's maladaptive. If the first support forum that you joined doesn't click, that's okay. You can always look for another support forum, and you don't need to stick to just one. Try as many as you need or want before you find the right fit! You deserve to have people who understand you, and it's worth it to try new things until you find them.
Additionally, the very most vital thing to remember is that if you find that your symptoms are worsening or if you believe that you may benefit from a mental health professional's help, you must reach out for professional support.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
The words "social anxiety" mean more than being shy. Social anxiety disorder is characterized by the disproportionate or irrational fear of social interactions. Sometimes called "social phobia," social anxiety disorder can make life difficult and even interfere with work or school. Many people with social anxiety find it debilitating. Some individuals with social anxiety qualify for disability benefits in some areas if their social anxiety keeps them from working or engaging in daily life.
Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a social anxiety disorder (SAD):
- Fear of social situations
- Excessive worry about embarrassment, humiliation, or judgment in social situations
- The avoidance of social situations due to anxiety
- Physical symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, trouble speaking, nausea, blushing or trembling
- Panic attacks
Symptoms like trembling don't affect everyone with a social anxiety disorder. It's just one of the signs that can present in a person who has it. Everyone experiences and copes with anxiety differently. Another potential symptom of social anxiety disorder is substance use or using substances to decrease the anxiety you feel in social situations. For example, someone may drink so that they're able to interact with others. Again, this isn't always the case. Everyone with social anxiety copes with it differently, and there are healthy coping skills out there. If you're looking for help with identifying healthy coping skills or ways to manage your social anxiety, the best thing to do is see a mental health professional.
To get a diagnosis of social anxiety or social anxiety disorder (SAD), see a licensed mental health professional, who has the credentials to diagnose mental health disorders. You can look for a mental health professional yourself by contacting your insurance company or searching the web if you choose to do so. You will have to meet the DSM-5 criteria for social anxiety disorder (SAD) to be diagnosed, and your symptoms must be present for six months or more to be diagnosed. Additionally, your symptoms must not be attributed to another medical or mental health condition. You can have more than one mental health condition, including more than one anxiety disorder. For example, it is common to have both generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
How Do I Find An Anxiety Support Group Near Me?
To find a social anxiety support group in your local area, you can use your web search engine of choice to search for "social anxiety support groups near me." There are anxiety support groups online as well as those that may meet in your local area. To search for an anxiety support group that meets online, search the web for "online anxiety support groups." In some cases, a therapist or an organization for a specific condition may know of a support group that meets either in your area or online. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA) website has a search tool on their website that you can use to find a support group near you. The AADA also has an online support group that you can join.
Support groups, much like support forums, are not a replacement for medical or mental health treatment. You do not need an official diagnosis to join a support group. Every social anxiety support group and the forum will have its own regulations and customs, so make sure to look at the rules on each site or group you join before you start posting.
Treatment For Anxiety
One of the best and most well-known treatments for anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. If you're looking for a counselor or therapist who practices cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, ask for a referral, search the web, or check with your insurance company to see what they cover. For all guidance regarding treatment, please consult a licensed medical professional.
If in-person therapy seems too intimidating and time-consuming, or if you can't access it due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might consider seeing someone online. More than ever, people seek digital support for mental health conditions or mental health concerns such as social anxiety. Online counseling or online therapy is an excellent way to get the help that you need safety from your own home's privacy. To find an online counselor, you can look for someone in your local area who offers remote sessions, or you may choose to work with a therapist or a counselor who practices through an online therapy website such as BetterHelp. No matter what you decide, reaching out for help doesn't need to be scary. Social anxiety disorder is a common condition, and you can find support and relief.
Take The Anxiety Test
Are you wondering if you have social anxiety? If you think that you might have an anxiety disorder, you can take the mind diagnostics anxiety test to get a better idea of if you may be struggling with anxiety symptoms. Though it is not a replacement for a mental health professional diagnosis, it is a free and confidential way to get some insight into what's going on with you and your mental health. You can find the mind diagnostics anxiety test here: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/anxiety-test.