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If you have a chronic illness such as arthritis, you know that dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms can often feel like an uphill battle. You may find that your friends and family don’t fully understand what you’re going through, or may not feel comfortable talking openly with them. It can be tempting to shut yourself off and stay inside, and some days you may not even want to get out of bed. Unfortunately that kind of thinking only adds to your pain.
Finding a group of people who understand what you’re experiencing, who understand what it’s like to live with chronic illness and chronic pain, can be a great way to find the inner strength to face the challenge of your condition and live a fuller life.
There are hundreds of arthritis support groups in the United States. Explore the map below to find a group near you.
Joining a chronic illness or arthritis support group can be very beneficial to your physical and mental health. Support groups can offer a safe environment where you can share painful experiences that you might be too embarrassed to tell a friend or loved one. It also is a great way to get out of the house, meet new people and interact with others. In talking to them, you will see that you’re not alone in your struggle. You can get emotional support as well as learn new strategies for managing daily challenges – not just from your symptoms but also from any underlying anxiety or depression you may have, as these are common in people with chronic diseases.
Traditional, in-person support groups have the added benefit of giving you in–person interaction. Typically in these meetings, people sit in a circle at an intimate gathering and talk about how they are dealing with their condition. Some groups may bring in local nutritionists or physicians to give members additional strategies for managing the condition. In addition to the group sessions, support groups often organize informal, social events like picnics and family outings. To find an in-person group, ask your physician or local hospital, or browse our interactive map above.
If you have information about a support group that isn’t listed in the map above, please fill out the form below and we’ll add it to our list.