Social Anxiety Support Groups

Where to Find Support Groups for SAD

Social anxiety support groups are dedicated to bringing together people with similar problems to talk and learn from each other's experiences. If you are considering joining a support group for social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is important to find a group with members who also suffer from SAD.

Members of support groups specifically targeted at social anxiety are more likely to be understanding of how difficult it may be for you to talk openly. Often, groups operate in such a manner that participants are not required to talk and may observe. This is helpful if you want to learn more about a group before deciding if you will become a regular member.

Below are some options for both online and local social anxiety support groups. Follow the links to find a local meetup near you, or join a larger global network in which you have the chance to meet people from various locations.

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The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) provides a comprehensive list of both community and online support groups for a variety of anxiety disorders in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.

If you are looking for a support group in your local area, this might be a good place to start. Be sure to look for listings specific to social anxiety when choosing a support group. If you can't find a group in your area, the ADAA also provides advice about how to start a support group.

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The Social Anxiety Support website (SAS) provides a list of social anxiety and social phobia support groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, India and Ireland. In addition, this interactive site allows users to rate support groups and provide feedback about their experiences.

These groups provide social support to individuals with social anxiety and are not aimed at offering therapy or treatment. Specific groups vary in their structure, meeting in a regular place at a regular time, or following a more fluid arrangement. They key is time spent with others who live with the same symptoms—to gain friendship and understanding from people with similar experiences.

If you are living with severe social anxiety, it is suggested that you pursue treatment before joining a social group.

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Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous offers free 12-step support groups to overcome social anxiety disorder, shyness, avoidant personality disorder and paruresis. Both local community face-to-face groups and international telephone conference groups are available.

The organization claims that participation in the 12-step support groups offer the missing ingredient to make self-help for social anxiety work. In addition, they offer free pamphlets and a book to help overcome social anxiety disorder.

Some of the principles covered in the 12 steps include the importance of spirituality in all its forms, letting go of control, taking a larger view, honoring and being true to yourself, manifesting low outward and inward in a balanced manner, faith, trust, and being present.

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Social Anxiety Support Chat was started in 2007 to provide SAD sufferers with a place to chat openly and learn from each other. The chats are not supervised by anyone with professional training and are designed solely to allow people with social anxiety disorder to connect. Visitors come from all over the world including countries such as Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Great Britain, India, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

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Started in 2002, this groups meets every Sunday from 3:00–4:30 p.m. at 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto. The group begins with mindfulness meditation and then leads into a discussion of social anxiety.

Individuals are not pressured to participate—it is possible to just observe. Small donations are accepted at the end of meetings. Bringing a snack for the group to share is also encouraged. After meetings, many group members go to the Golden Griddle to socialize, where they receive a 10% discount on food orders.

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Meetup.com offers this list of groups related to social anxiety that may be having meetups near you. As with any group, ensure that other members are specifically dealing with social anxiety—otherwise you may find yourself feeling out of place or misunderstood. Also, be sure to tell someone where you are going and check-in regularly, particularly if you feel anxious about meeting with strangers. Better yet, consider bringing someone along with you to a meetup.

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A Word From Verywell

If you are considering attending a social anxiety support group, first consider the level of your symptoms and what you hope to gain from the group. While support groups are an excellent source of understanding and friendship, they are not designed as a substitute for treatment. If you are still early in your journey in overcoming social anxiety, you may wish to wait, or just go and observe until your symptoms have lessened.

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