Do you often feel self-conscious when you’re around other people, worry that others will judge you negatively, or just feel as if you’d rather not meet new people because things might not go according to plan?
Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is a highly common anxiety disorder. In fact, it affects an estimated 7.1 percent of US adults on an annual basis, with women in their late teens, 20s and 30s the most at risk.
In other words, if you suffer from anxiety that often pops up in social situations, you’re definitely not alone.
Social anxiety is typically treated with medication, therapy and changes to your habits and daily life. One habit that many people affected by social anxiety disorder find helpful is joining a social anxiety forum — an online community of people with social anxiety and other anxiety disorders.
Taking part in an online forum isn’t a replacement for medication or therapy, but it can help you to learn more about your treatment options, find anxiety tips and network with other people who are also affected by day-to-day anxiety related to social situations.
Below, we’ve talked about what social anxiety is, as well as the impact that it can have on your mental and physical health.
We’ve also discussed the potential benefits of joining an online social anxiety forum and shared eight message boards that you can join to connect with other people with similar experiences.
Finally, we’ve covered effective treatment options for social anxiety, from medications that help with physical and mental anxiety symptoms to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), daily habits and more.
Before we talk about specific social anxiety forums you can join, let’s quickly go over the basics of what social anxiety disorder is and how it may affect you.
Social anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It often involves feelings of fear and anxiety in situations that involve spending time around other people, especially social situations in which you may be judged or scrutinized.
Common situations that can trigger social anxiety include taking part in a job interview, speaking in front of a crowd, going on a date, meeting new people at a party, being called on in class or at work to answer a question, or even eating or drinking in front of other people.
Social anxiety doesn’t just mean being a shy person. If you have social anxiety disorder, having to talk to other people might cause you to sweat, tremble, feel sick to your stomach or feel other significant physical symptoms.
It might also cause you to panic, change your vocal tone, avoid making eye contact or suddenly feel overly concerned that you’re being judged negatively.
Social anxiety disorder can have a real, noticeable impact on your life. If your social anxiety isn’t treated, you might find yourself avoiding places or people that cause anxiety — a change in your behavior that could affect your work, education and/or relationships.
Social anxiety is treatable, and having a support network of people who understand the way you feel can help you to more successfully tame anxiety and live a healthy, more normal life.
Taking part in a social anxiety forum can give you a platform to vent about the impact of anxiety on your life, learn new strategies for dealing with anxiety, or simply have people to talk to when you feel like you need a little extra help getting control of anxiety on a daily basis.
Most importantly, taking part in a discussion board can help to remind you that you aren’t alone and that there are other people out there dealing with the same mental health issues as you on a daily basis.
So, which social anxiety support forums are worth it? There are several social anxiety forums on the internet, from specialized discussion boards for people with feelings of anxiety solely related to socializing to more general mental health communities with social anxiety sections.
There are also communities on popular websites like Reddit that offer help for anxious people in need of a supportive group of friends and fellow social anxiety sufferers.
Below, we’ve shared eight forums for people with social anxiety that you might want to consider joining if you’d like some help and support dealing with your symptoms.
Like with all online communities, the exact rules, feel and focus of each social anxiety forum can vary, meaning you may want to register for several forums and spend some time reading before you find the community that best suits you.
Social Phobia World is a popular forum for people with social anxiety disorder. The community is primarily focused on social anxiety, but also features subforums for issues such as agoraphobia, panic attacks, depression and other mental health conditions.
It also features subforums for social anxiety treatments and medications, making it a good place to learn more about your options for successfully treating social anxiety.
Another forum that focuses specifically on social anxiety, Social Anxiety Support Forum features a wide range of subforums that cover topics such as coping with social anxiety, medications and positive thinking techniques.
This forum is fairly active, with daily posts on coping with anxiety, secondary disorders and other topics related to living with social anxiety disorder.
Reddit is a hugely popular website that features online communities on a wide range of different topics, from TV shows to fitness, funny videos and personal finance. It’s also home to one of the largest online social anxiety communities in the form of its social anxiety subreddit.
With upwards of 360,000 members, Reddit’s social anxiety community is one of the most active communities for people with social anxiety.
As a large forum, the subjects discussed on the social anxiety subreddit cover almost everything related to social anxiety, from treatments to success stories from users who’ve successfully met a new person, got a job or made other progress in life.
Although Reddit’s social skills subreddit isn’t specifically dedicated to social anxiety, it’s also an excellent community for learning about socializing successfully.
Instead of dealing with social anxiety symptoms, most posts on this subreddit cover what to do in specific situations, from awkward run-ins with coworkers or family members to learning skills for interacting at dinners, parties and other events that require making conversation.
As such, it’s better to think of this subreddit as an informal learning resource than as a support group for discussing social anxiety or other mental health disorders.
Aimed at people based in the UK, the Social Anxiety UK Discussion Board features discussions on topics such as finding a therapist, setting healthy boundaries, dealing with daily symptoms of social anxiety and sharing recent successes.
It also features information for members on support groups located throughout the UK, making it a helpful resource if you’d like to meet with other people with social anxiety in person.
The Mental Health Forum is a peer support forum for people with mental health disorders that are supported by Together 4 Change, a UK-based nonprofit organization.
Although the social anxiety section of this community is small, the overall anxiety community is large, making this a useful resource for connecting with other people who suffer from anxiety to learn about treatments and coping techniques, or just relax, vent and unwind.
Psych Forums is a large online community dedicated to psychology and mental health. Although it isn’t specifically focused on social anxiety, it has a small social phobia forum that unfortunately only gets a trickle of regular posts and updates compared to the rest of the website.
This private forum is available for members of the therapy program “Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step” by Thomas A. Richards, PhD. As a private forum, it’s not for everyone, but it may be helpful if you're part of this treatment community.
Joining a forum for people with social anxiety can give you a helpful community to turn to when you experience symptoms, need help or just want to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through.
However, while participating in a forum can be helpful, it shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for mental health treatment.
If you think you might have social anxiety disorder, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider and access help. You can do this by talking to your primary care provider about a mental health referral, or accessing help directly online using our psychiatry service.
Social anxiety disorder is usually treated with medication, therapy, lifestyle changes or a mix of different approaches.
If you have social anxiety disorder, your mental health provider may suggest taking medication such as an antidepressant, anti-anxiety drug or beta-blocker to help you reduce the severity of your symptoms and function better in social situations.
Our guide to medications for anxiety goes into more detail about how these medications work, as well as how they may help you in settings that would usually trigger your symptoms.
In addition to using medication, your mental health provider may recommend participating in a form of therapy. Common types of therapy for treating social anxiety include exposure therapy, which involves gradually and safely confronting situations that make you feel anxious.
Both medication and therapy are effective treatments for social anxiety, but they usually need time to work. Our guide to therapy for treating anxiety explains how therapy works and shares more about the specific techniques that your mental health provider may use with you.
Beyond medication and therapy, making changes to your habits and daily life can often help to make social anxiety easier to deal with.
If you have social anxiety disorder or a related form of anxiety, you may benefit from:
Learning how to handle stress for when you feel your symptoms developing
Communicating with your close friends and/or family members about how you feel
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and setting aside time for regular physical activity
Avoiding caffeine, which may trigger or worsen your anxiety symptoms
Taking part in a local or online support group for people with anxiety
Practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis
Our guide to calming anxiety shares lifestyle choices and habits that you can use to better deal with anxiety symptoms, including the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
If you have social anxiety disorder, taking part in a forum can help you to connect with people in similar situations and learn more about dealing with your symptoms.
It’s important to remember that each social anxiety forum will likely have its own rules and forum culture, making it best to familiarize yourself with the rules, etiquette and feel of the forum before you start contributing.
It’s also important to remember that the information you read on forums isn’t medical advice, nor should it ever be viewed as a replacement for information from your healthcare provider.
Interested in finding out more about treating social anxiety? You can take part in a mental health consultation from home using our telehealth service, or learn more about your treatment options in our full guide to dealing with social anxiety.
Dr. Angela Sheddan has been a Family Nurse Practitioner since 2005, practicing in community, urgent and retail health capacities. She has also worked in an operational capacity as an educator for clinical operations for retail clinics.
She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, her master’s from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. You can find Angela on LinkedIn for more information.
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