Support groups

Support groups are groups of people who, often on a volunteer basis, help others in need of guidance, sympathy, and kindness. There are many different kinds of support groups such as HIV and AIDS support group, Alcoholics anonymoussupport group, different cancer support groups, Step-parents support group,New mom's support group, Twins support group and so on. The main purpose of these groups is to make moral support and information readily available to those individuals who need it, in order to live their lives to the fullest.

Many people with cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases face manychallenges that may leave them feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and alone. Sometimes, it can be difficult to cope with these challenges or even to talk to supportive family and friends. Such people may find it therapeutic to meet withother people who have a problem similar to theirs and often this can be accomplished by joining a support group. Members of the support group may be ableto help the person feel less alone and can improve their ability to deal withthe uncertainties and challenges that life brings. However, support groups are not for everyone. Some people may actually find support groups stressful.

Most support groups are free. Some may collect voluntary donations, or chargemodest membership dues to cover basic expenses. A useful support group, forexample, a breast cancer support group, should include both newcomers and other patients who have survived the illness for long periods, in order to provide a balanced perspective for the group. The group should be stable and meetthe needs of its members. There should be leaders who can empathize, gently draw out the shy members and distill the discussion into useful information.

Many organizations offer support groups for individuals with diseases such ascancer, AIDS, drugs and alcohol addictions etc. The doctor, nurse, or hospital social worker will have information about support groups such as their location, size, and type and how often they meet. In addition, many newspapers carry a special health supplement containing information about where to find support groups. Commercial on-line services have added a new dimension to theavailability of support for people who need it. American Online, Prodigy, CompuServe all have bulletin boards where various groups regularly provide support and information to all of its members.

There are several kinds of support groups to meet individual needs. Support groups may be led by a professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker or by other patients. These groups may be for a particular disease, for teens or young adults, for family members, or for support that is more general. Support groups can vary in approach, size and how often they meet.It is important that individuals find an atmosphere that they are comfortable with and meets their individual needs.

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