5 Books to Help with Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder affects more of the population than you might realize. Read on for information and book recs about SAD.

Lifestyle Non-Fiction Recommendations Self Help Wellness Young Adult
Drawing of an isolated woman on an island depicted as a brain.

Social anxiety disorder, or SAD, affects millions of people every year. Social anxiety disorder means someone has an intense fear or anxiety about being in a social situation. For someone suffering from social anxiety, something as seemingly simple as having a conversation or going to the big game can cause intense anxiety and fear. There are different levels of social anxiety, and the more prevalent the disorder is in someone, the harder it is for that individual to function in everyday society. Depending on how intense the social anxiety is, it can be common for individuals to isolate themselves.

According to the ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America) over 7% of the U.S. population is affected by social anxiety disorder. SAD generally begins around the early teenage years, and 36% of people experiencing this disorder don’t seek help until they have been faced with symptoms for 10 or more years. Below are 5 books that can educate about and help with social anxiety.

How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety by Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.

Cover of "How To Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety" by Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.

In this book, Dr. Hendrikson believes that you already have all the tools you need to succeed in an uncomfortable social situation. She uses scientific research and facts, gives lots of tips that have been cultivated over the years, and uses stories and anecdotes from real people who have suffered from and overcome social anxiety.

Dr. Hendrikson also admits to living with social anxiety disorder and has dedicated her life to helping her clients overcome the same hindrances that she has. She explains where social anxiety comes from and why it remains present in people, how to change your mindset and patterns of thinking by changing your behavior, and exactly how to get that little voice in your head to be quiet and stop holding you back.

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-By-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear by Martin M. Antony, Ph.D. and Richard P. Swinson, MD.

Cover of "The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-By-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear" by Martin M. Antony, Ph.D. and Richard P. Swinson, MD.

This workbook uses techniques that have proven to be effective to start conquering social anxiety. The authors use updated and revised research in the third edition of this book to illuminate a myriad of methods used to treat SAD. Some of the research used in this book includes information on medications, technological advancements that can be used to boost treatments, and mindfulness practices.

This workbook allows the reader to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and investigate and analyze fears through self-evaluation, as well as to create an individual plan for creating change and how to implement that plan in a realistic and sustainable manner. This comprehensive workbook is sure to help you get started with facing and beating social anxiety disorder.

Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step by Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D.

Cover of "Overcoming Social Anxiety Step by Step" by Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., Psychologist.

This book focuses on using cognitive techniques to reduce social anxiety which coincides with the audio series “Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step.” The handouts that comprise the book will help the reader develop skills that can be implemented in strategic ways to help them cope with the symptoms of social anxiety. The author focuses on skills that will be beneficial in changing negative thinking patterns, quieting disruptive thoughts, and learning how to feel less anxious in general.

These skills will lead to the development of rational patterns of thinking, acceptance of yourself, and being able to calm down in social situations, leading to an overall feeling of empowerment and control over your life. The overall goal of this book is to teach the reader strategies and skills they can use in their everyday lives to conquer their social anxiety.

Find Your Fierce: How to Put Social Anxiety in Its Place by Jacqueline Sperling, Ph.D.

Cover of "Find Your Fierce: How to Put Social Anxiety in Its Place" by Jacqueline Sperling, Ph.D.

This book focuses mainly on the teenage brain and gives strategies specific to teenagers to help overcome their social anxiety. However, it can still be beneficial to anyone who suffers from SAD. This book covers strategies used to help cope with social anxiety in the hopes that by the end of it, these strategies will be implemented enough to defeat the disorder.

The author discusses what social anxiety is, how powerful emotions can be, cognitive coping, mindfulness and relaxation practices, exposure and response prevention, self-care, relapse prevention, and what the next step is after. Dr. Sperling uses scientific research from cognitive behavioral therapy to give people the tools to manage social anxiety and prevent it from controlling them in the future.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Cover of "Starfish" by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

This novel follows a teenager who wrestles with social anxiety and her narcissistic mother after receiving a seemingly world-ending rejection from her top art school. Kiko, the main character and focus of the novel, feels lost. She has a mother who constantly puts her down and a half-Japanese heritage that she doesn’t understand or feel connected to. Her whole life she has just been trying to get into her dream art school, telling herself that that’s when she can start to truly be herself.

After she gets rejected from this art school she decides to tour schools on the west coast with her friend. This decision forces her to confront and accept fears and anxieties that are attempting to control and constrain her. Through this journey, she finds freedom and begins to realize who she is as a person. This book is a story of identity and shows that social anxiety can be overcome.

Hopefully, these books will help you understand what social anxiety is and how to overcome it.

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