How A Social Anxiety Forum Can Help You

By: Steven Finkelstein

Updated November 12, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

Social anxiety can feel debilitating, and more people deal with it than you might imagine. Those who have social anxiety aren’t always easy to spot. That’s because many of them have found ways to suppress the feelings of worry or panic that might well up in them if they are called upon to give a speech in front of other people, or even if they have to make small talk in a social setting. These are tasks that someone without this concern might not think twice about undertaking, but they are potentially panic-inducing to the person with social anxiety, or often at least challenging.

If you’re one of the millions who experience social anxiety, you may wish to consider joining a social anxiety forum. Doing so would provide a place for you to discuss your concern and get some feedback from others who have the same or similar concerns. Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about what we mean when we use the term “social anxiety.”

What Is Social Anxiety?

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To put it in the broadest terms, social anxiety refers to when a person has a fear of being evaluated and judged negatively by other people. These judgments or perceived judgments can lead to strong feelings of anxiety, depression, humiliation, embarrassment, self-consciousness, and inadequacy. A bit less broadly, social anxiety can also consist of feeling anxious about talking to new people or not well-known people, being in a new situation or setting, and not being sure how to interact or what to say in these settings – it doesn’t always have to consist of a fear of being judged.

Put in this context, it’s easy to see why some people seek out social anxiety support groups. We’re not talking about someone feeling a little nervous about meeting their fiancé’s parents or having butterflies in their stomach before a job interview. Social anxiety, especially in more pronounced cases, can be so devastating that it can lead to the person wanting to remain in their home indefinitely. Some may even feel ill from social anxiety. At its extreme, it can result in a complete retreat from society.

Symptoms Of Social Anxiety

If you’re not sure whether you have social anxiety, then you should be mindful of the following symptoms of the condition. If you experience significant emotional distress related to interpersonal relationships, then you might have it, whether those relationships are of a platonic or romantic nature. If you’re distressed by a situation at work where you’re being called upon to speak in front of people, that may be an indicator. The same is true if you’re in a social situation with people you don’t know. If you’re terrified by the idea of being introduced to new people, or if you detest being the center of attention, what you’re experiencing may be social anxiety.

The physical manifestations of the condition might include trembling, a dry throat or mouth, excessive blushing or stammering, the sensation of your heart racing, upset stomach, and intense fear. Some people can mask these symptoms at least partially, but often you’ll be able to tell when a person has at least some degree of social anxiety. Their body language may be a clear indicator of it. For instance, those who have it often have a tough time making eye contact and speaking assertively, others might become a bit shaky, etc.

What Can Be Done About It?

There are medications that may help with social anxiety. Some medications might be taken daily, and others taken on an as-needed basis. For instance, this second variety might be taken if the person has to give a presentation at work or if they know they’re going to be called upon to give a toast at a wedding, or for any other situation where they know the spotlight is going to be on them. Usually, the idea behind these medications is to make the person taking them to feel calmer.

Counseling for social anxiety usually comes in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy is comprehensive, and if a person with social anxiety sticks with it, then it is likely to produce positive results. However, consistency and persistence are going to be needed. It’s possible that the best solution for a person might turn out to be a combination of both medication and therapy. However, other potentially helpful resources are social anxiety forums.

Why Are Anxiety Support Groups Effective?

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There is no guarantee that any medication or form of treatment is going to work for someone with social anxiety, but it can certainly be surmised that a person who is willing to work on the issue has a better chance of beating it than someone unwilling to try and confront the problem. Anxiety support groups online have emerged as a proactive way for people to address their social anxiety. These groups can be effective in that they allow those who live with social anxiety to find help in a safe setting with others who understand their experience and will validate them.

The Safety Of Anonymity

While you could make the argument that most people with social anxiety would do better seeing a counselor in a one-on-one setting, the reality is that’s a situation that’s not ideal for some people. It could be the anxiety itself that it is acting as a deterrent to that scenario. In other words, the very idea of going to see someone to talk about their anxiety might be a situation that’s causing extreme fear or nervousness.

It could be that a person might want to look into an online social anxiety forum at first, and then at a later date once they feel more comfortable with therapy and the idea of talking in person, they might feel ready to try some one-on-one therapy. It might be that an online social anxiety forum is the only kind of anxiety support that they’ll ever want to try. Either situation is fine. Since there’s no proven formula for the alleviation of social anxiety that’s going to work for every person, it’s vital that every individual who has it finds a way to address their concerns and issues in the way(s) that works best for them.

Making Friends Online Can Be The First Step

For many people with social anxiety, finding ways to cope can be tough. For some people it might be relatively minor, while for others, it might be the focal point and the most significant challenge in their lives. In an online social anxiety forum, you can compare stories and feel that you’ve come to a safe place. Because you’re talking to other people who have similar concerns, you can be sure that you’re in a judgment-free zone.

You might meet some lasting friends on these psych forums as well. You can sympathize with someone when they have a setback, and you can rejoice with them when they have a breakthrough. Members of the forum will also typically share experiences they have had, as well as positive ways in which they’ve been able to cope with them that might help others in similar situations. This can be quite useful, as talking with others helps to present new perspectives and approaches that we might not have even thought of before.

You Might Progress To A Real-Life Meetup

The process might go from you starting by using an online social anxiety forum and then advancing to a face-to-face meetup with others in your area who also have social anxiety.

If you Google “anxiety support groups near me,” then you’re likely to find many options. A public health institution might be a sponsor, while others might be more informal, simply meeting places for like-minded people who happen to have the same concerns. You might use an online social anxiety forum until you’re ready to take this step, or you may decide that you want to keep things in the realm of cyberspace. Either option is fine. Again, no two people are alike, and what’s perfect for someone else may not work for you.

You Must Find The Combination Of Techniques That Works For You

For the person with social anxiety, many aspects of life can be a challenge. If you have difficulty in social situations but have to go to work every day to support yourself, then this is something with which you must find a way to cope.

You might seek out an online forum, a local group that meets somewhere near you, or you may decide to look into individual therapy instead. Medication may also be helpful, so talk to your doctor or therapist about it.

The First Step Will Likely Be The Hardest

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Everyone has to make their own choices as it relates to their mental health issues, And, as with so many things, the first step of taking action is often the hardest. You must find the wellspring of courage that exists within you if you wish to make a real change in your life.

You can go to BetterHelp to speak to a licensed therapist and get started on the path toward better mental health. Our mental health professionals will have suggestions as to what you can do to reduce your social anxiety so you can start living your best life again. It’s a 100% remote form of therapy, meaning you won’t have to meet with anyone in-person.

Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy in treating a variety of conditions and concerns, including social anxiety, general anxiety, depression, PTSD, phobias, mood disorders, and many others. One very in-depth study dissected and reviewed 373 other studies that explored the efficacy of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) and found that ICBT had a higher user satisfaction rating and greater reduction in symptoms overall than traditional CBT.

For those with social anxiety in particular, using an online therapy platform like BetterHelp can help remove some of the barriers in place with in-person counselling, and can feel less stressful and more manageable. Sessions can be conducted anytime, anywhere – including the comfort of your own home – via phone call, video chat, live voice recordings sent back and forth, or even texting/instant messaging. Due to the remote nature of our platform, BetterHelp is also incredibly secure and private.

Continue reading below to find reviews of some of our experienced, board-certified therapists from people seeking help with social anxiety.

Counsellor Reviews

“Dr. Meyers has been such an amazing help to me. I just signed up this year, and it’s been full of unimaginable events that he has really helped me break down and helped me get through. He consistently gives me techniques on how to handle my anxiety and my panic attacks, and he’s played a big part in the reduction of them too!”

“Jerryis the perfect therapist. He listens, understands and has 30+ years of experience. He really knows the ins and outs of how to cope with anxiety and racing thoughts. Highly recommend! I started in October 2020 and made such huge progress by December 2020. Thank you Jerry!!!”


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