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How do I Choose the Best Social Anxiety Self-Help?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Social anxiety is a condition in which people feel an abnormally high fear of social situations. These situations could include things like attending parties, family gatherings, speaking in public, or even going to work. Unlike some of the other anxiety disorders, many people with this condition would find doing something like attending a support group extremely hard, especially early in treatment.

A support group is a social situation, and that may occasionally preclude it as the best form of support. Similarly, going to a counselor at first might be very difficult, and this is why many turn to social anxiety self-help. That being said, some people truly benefit from groups, therapists, and possibly medication, and these approaches shouldn’t be discounted, even if people want to look for more private ways to solve the problem first.

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There are a number of different social anxiety self-help options. Many people start with books, tapes or multi-media programs that are aimed at understanding the disorder and finding ways to live with it. If possible, recommendations for best programs could come from a private doctor, but many people head to the bookstore or shop online and read reviews to see which materials could be most helpful. People should be aware that one of the most common methods of treating social anxiety is through cognitive behavioral therapy. It may help to shop for books/programs that have this approach and that might offer a person homework or activities to do to help lessen the effects of this disorder.

It can also be useful to read articles about social anxiety on the Internet, as a means of getting social anxiety self-help. Things people should look for include advice on identifying triggers to anxiety and how to handle strong anxiety when it occurs. Reading more technical articles may be useful too, in order to understand in what light science views the mechanisms of this anxiety disorder. Determining what advice may fit, through reading articles, is often a matter of trial and error, and some advice will seem appropriate, while other advice is clearly inapplicable.

Though being in groups in person may create social anxiety issues, being online may not have the same difficulties. Many online psychological sites have social anxiety self-help groups that may all meet at once or that might use a bulletin board approach to share challenges and difficulties. Mental health professionals run some of these groups and others are organized by laypeople. Given the two choices, the former is usually better, especially if there is moderation; it may assure controls on quality and soundness of advice given. Yet even if a group is moderated, it can only be used as a jumping off point and should not be mistaken for professional advice as offered by a therapist or physician.

Despite trying hard with social anxiety self-help materials some people are not able to fully cure this condition at home, or they avoid anxiety by having to avoid participation in many aspects of daily life. Given this, it is strongly recommended that people use social anxiety self-help to augment learning how to deal with this condition in therapy. Private therapy, especially of a cognitive behavioral nature, is often useful in helping to grasp this condition, deal with its impact on life, and move forward. Medication is frequently recommended to help deal with the symptoms a person has when triggered, and here, self-help is not appropriate either (though some self-medicate). Getting help from a physician is a better ideas and this may make working through any self-help guides much more efficacious.

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umbra21
Post 3

@irontoenail - With respect, it's not up to people with anxiety to educate everyone around them. In a lot of cases they don't have a choice, but they should never feel pressure to do this, because it makes them feel like there's one more thing to be anxious about.

A lot of information about social anxiety is out there and anyone who knows they have a relative or a friend working on overcoming social anxiety should try to help by educating themselves.

irontoenail
Post 2

@pastanaga - I think another thing that people with anxiety should try is making sure their friends and family are educated about it as well. I know I used to think they were doing things just to make me feel bad and didn't realize that was just the way they behaved. Like my sister was always asking me questions that made me feel like I was being interrogated, but we realized that was her way of showing that she loved me. She didn't realize it made me feel bad and just thought I was already grumpy when I closed down.

That's the kind of misunderstanding that can be avoided with a little bit of education and patience with each other.

pastanaga
Post 1

I would highly recommend that anyone who suffers from this seek out support groups online. If even that seems to bring on anxiety, you might be able to try something like a blog on Tumblr, where you don't have to interact with anyone unless you want to and there are a lot of people posting information about overcoming social anxiety.

Most of all, I think it's important to be accepting of yourself and try to overcome what you're feeling in a way that isn't placing pressure or judgment on your feelings. For one thing, you've got nothing to be ashamed of. And for another, it's just not practical to berate yourself for something that isn't under your direct control and will only get worse if you feel bad about it.

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