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A lot of people struggling with challenges in life may find things easier to handle when they know others who are going through something very similar. It can help to build a community of people to speak with and discuss their troubles. 

Such groups exist for many different groups of people, including people recovering from substance use disorders, those who are going through a divorce, and those who are managing symptoms of a mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. 

In the past, many of these support groups were only offered in person, which could be difficult for many and even inaccessible to those with certain types of social anxiety. 

However, during the pandemic, many support groups moved online; this could make the experience of speaking in a support group easier for those who struggled before. 

If you thought about joining a support group for your anxiety or panic attacks before but reconsidered once you realized that you would be in front of other people, then there’s no better than now to see if a support group would work for you. It might be easier online than an in-person support group, especially when you’re starting out.

Whenever you are seeking health care online, be sure that your computer is protected while you’re searching. Be aware of how secure your connection is, research cyber safety, and confirm the support group is legitimate.

If you still decide that online support groups aren’t for you, then there are many articles that can help you manage your anxiety and panic attacks. Support groups won’t work for everyone, and that’s okay! The best treatment is the kind that works for you, not the kind that works for someone else.

1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, or ADAA, offers two online support groups for depression and anxiety, one in English and one in Spanish. You don’t typically meet in person; instead, members are free to join whenever and begin sharing posts about their experiences or things that have worked for them in order to calm their anxiety and manage it. 

It is moderated, so inappropriate posts are taken down, but on average, the majority of people claim that it’s a helpful and friendly environment that has given support and advice, especially throughout the hard times of the pandemic.

The support group functions like a forum or a message board where people post questions or statements in large posts, and then people are free to leave comments responding to the large post for everyone to read. This could include suggestions or just helpful encouragement when needed.

2. Inspire (Mental Health America)

Mental Health America does not particularly specialize in anxiety or panic attacks. It is an organization focused on bringing awareness and support to all sorts of mental illnesses, but they do have specialized online support groups for various mental illnesses, including one for anxiety. 

This means that individuals are free to join as many support groups as necessary, which is handy if you believe you may have several conditions or have been diagnosed with something other than anxiety and would like to have your support groups in one convenient location.

Like the support group offered by ADAA, Inspire is also held in the format of a forum board, but these posts seem more casual than those written on ADAA, which might be a better environment for some. 

Each support group will have its own culture, and it’s important that you find one that works for you and also has people you trust and can grow relationships with.

3. SupportGroupsCentral

Just like with Inspire and Mental Health America, SupportGroupsCentral does not specialize in anxiety and panic attacks, but they do offer support groups that can help with these conditions. 

They offer a wide variety of support groups, which is an even broader variety than those offered by Inspire, making this a hub of support for all manner of things. There is no limit to how many support groups you can join at once, so you’re free to try out different groups if you feel like you might benefit from more than one.

They’re even unique in their format, compared to what was discussed above, as these are video meetings led by trained meeting facilitators. Each meeting will meet at a certain time each week for a set amount of time, just like an in-person support group.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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