Welcome to The Sprout! Please sign up or login

Information » Health » Emotional and Mental Health » Phobias and Habits

Phobias and Habits


A phobia is an intense fear of a situation or an object that wouldn’t normally worry other people

There are over 10 million people in the UK suffering from a phobia, so whatever yours is, there will be someone who understands

There are several types of phobia:

  • Specific phobias e.g. an animal, an insect, germs, injections or flying
  • Situation phobias e.g. the dark, heights, confined spaces or being alone
  • Social phobias e.g. talking in public, eating in front of others
  • Illness phobias e.g. about getting ill
  • Phobias can sometimes be traced to a childhood experience or frightening event
  • Phobias can be treated using talking treatments such as counselling or hypnotherapy, but more severe phobias may need medical treatment
  • A phobia is not an illness but it can trigger panic attacks, which lead to physical symptoms, such as feeling faint, sweating and a shortness of breath. See the Panic Attacks section for more help and advice


  • A habit is a common pattern of behaviour repeated frequently
  • Habits can include biting your nails, playing with your hair or cracking your knuckles Habits are formed over time and are generally harmless but hard to break
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which people experience repetitive thoughts and/or behaviours and can be more serious than a common habit
  • It will usually cause repetitive behaviour or rituals where your fears and anxieties take over
  • Common obsessions are germs and dirt and can result in ritual washing of hands or cleaning
  • The best treatment for OCD is therapy to help change your behaviour
  • If you are worried about a phobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is a good idea to talk to someone and visit your GP for treatment advice. Both can be treated with the right support

Related Media

Useful Links

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post comments on this website.

Login or Register.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. It will help us find out how you use the website so we can keep improving it for you. Everyone who completes the survey will get the chance to win £50.