Social anxiety disorder (known as “social phobia” in its most extreme form) is a mental health condition characterized by intense fear and discomfort in social settings. Social anxiety occurs when one feels overly concerned with how one is being evaluated by others. In some people, social situations can even lead to panic attacks.
It can be very difficult for a person who has high social anxiety to feel at ease in social situations because of the constant worrying and the negative thought patterns. The thoughts of a socially anxious person are usually along the lines of “What if no one thinks my joke is funny?” and “Will they think less of me if they find out I haven’t seen that movie?”
Generally, a healthy person dislikes being rejected, but he or she can recover from it within a reasonable amount of time. Being fired from a job or being shunned by a friend are examples of situations that can be difficult to recover from, but social phobics can be strongly affected by even the smallest perceived slight. For instance, being cut off while you are speaking can be mildly irritating, but it can have a bigger emotional impact on someone with social anxiety, who may react with disproportionate embarrassment and hurt.
How to Find Good Help
The Internet is proving to be a great resource for people seeking information and support for mental health issues. However, it is important to distinguish the good from the bad, as not everyone who posts information online is interested in helping people.
In the Journal of Mental Health, a publication from the UK, a writer reviews a small group of well-known sites for people with social anxiety disorder.
The author pays careful attention to what each of the four sites has to offer people looking for help with their social anxiety problems. Two of the sites, Social Anxiety UK and Social Phobia, are reviewed very positively by the writer. She describes them as being straightforward, informative and interactive, as well as a great place for people to find support.
The site titled “Social Phobia” also contains helpful articles offering tips and advice to people trying to overcome social phobia.
Social Phobia World, a site designed to help social phobics all over the world, is praised for its ability to connect people to one another. The site allows people with social anxiety to interact directly, so they are able to exchange ideas, fears, experiences, and advice.