Tips to Get Help for Social Anxiety
Are you looking for help for social anxiety? If you are living with social anxiety that interferes with your daily life, your first step should be to talk to your doctor. However, there are other avenues for finding help as well. Let’s take a look at several options for you to consider.
Ask Your Doctor
Unfortunately, your doctor isn’t likely to ask about your mental health unless you bring it up. I know I recently went to an appointment in which they took my medical history, but asked nothing about my mental health.
Be sure to write down a list of your symptoms and bring it with you so you don’t forget or feel too embarrassed to ask.
I know when you need help for social anxiety symptoms you probably don’t feel comfortable talking about it, so bring along a paper that forces you to do so.
If you don’t trust yourself to keep pushing, ask a friend or family member to go with you to appointments and be your advocate.
Be sure to ask what the next steps are and what treatments you might be able to receive such as medication and therapy.
If your doctor isn’t helpful, I recommend finding a new doctor, as hard as that may be. Not all family doctors are understanding of mental health issues, and may be even less understanding in the case of social anxiety.
Again, you need to be your own best advocate and move on if you feel that your doctor is not taking you seriously.
Find Help Online
Not sure about talking to your doctor? Another alternative is to sign up with an online therapist through a service such as Betterhelp.
There is a cost involved, but it is much less than going to traditional therapy, plus you don’t have to leave your house. Give an online therapist a few weeks to see if its a good fit before deciding whether it is right for you.
Read Self-Help Books
If your social anxiety is not severe, consider reading self-help books to learn more about the problem and what you can do about it. This method gives you access to expert advice from psychologists without ever having to speak to anyone.
For the best results, choose a self-help book that uses a workbook format so that you will be forced to actively participate as you read along.
Join a Support Group
Find an in-person or online support group to help you manage your social anxiety. You might be surprised at the wealth of knowledge that other group members are able to offer. One word of warning though—steer clear of groups that involve more complaining than solutions.
This can be particularly a problem that I’ve noticed in Facebook groups. You want positive, helpful people around you who are also working on managing their anxiety; not people who just want to wallow in it or complain.
Ask a Friend/Family Member
If you’re really feeling desperate and don’t know where to turn, consider confiding in a friend, family member, or other person whom you trust. It doesn’t even need to be someone you know all that well, particularly if that person is in a position to help you.
Examples might include a teacher, pastor, group leader, or other caring individual. You might be surprised at the empathetic response you receive. Tell that person that you don’t know where to turn and about how you are feeling.
Download an App
Another alternative is to choose an app to help with your social anxiety. There are apps to help manage negative thinking, such as Woebot.io, as well as apps to help you learn to relax such as Headspace.
Whatever app you choose, be sure to use it regularly to manage your anxiety and practicie relaxation. Regular mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of your brain pathways, so doing it at the same time each day can mean the difference between getting better or feeling worse.
In summary, you’re looking for help with social anxiety, consider asking your doctor, finding help online, reading self-help books, joining a support group, asking a friend or family member, and downloading an app. And if your social anxiety is very severe, be sure to reach out to someone right away.
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