If you’ve been biting your nails ever since you were a child, then it’s important to understand the reasons behind it. We’ve also got you some tips to get rid of nail biting!
Nail experts and a clinical psychologist offer actionable tips for quitting—as do two of our manicure-mangling fashion editors
A treatment established in the early 1970s called habit reversal therapy can break the cycle in as little as eight to 12 weeks.
The new treatment is an inexpensive, over-the-counter supplement called N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, that is widely available.
“It’s a promising alternative that may be helpful to people who may be struggling with a disorder that’s otherwise very difficult to manage,” said Michael Berk, professor of psychiatry at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia.
It can ruin the appearance of your hands, could be unhygienic and can hurt if you take it too far. So why do people do it?
Often a coping strategy for stress and anxiety, distraction is the key to ending the bad habit.
Are you a toe-tapper, hair-twirler, eye-blinker, head-nodder, nail-biter, knuckle-cracker, skin-picker, lip-licker, shoulder-shrugger or a chin-stroker?
Call it a nervous habit or tic, almost everybody has at least one — whether they are aware of it or not.
Tics exist on a spectrum ranging from barely noticeable to extremely annoying to potentially injurious.
Keep an eye on your daughter’s general anxiety level: Many of us who are truly committed oral fixators do it to deal with stress, and it may be easier to fix the behavior if you can isolate some contributing factors at play.
Do you bite your nails? For 30 years, I did. We nail biters can be "pathological groomers" — people for whom normal grooming behaviors, like skin picking or hair pulling, have become virtually uncontrollable.
But psychiatry is changing the way it thinks about pathological grooming
It turns out that this 'bad' habit might have a deeper and rather surprising reason behind it..
You do it while you’re reading emails or watching television; the tip of a finger creeps up between your teeth, and you nibble away for a few minutes before catching yourself. Your mom always told you it was a bad habit, and you worry about coworkers eye-balling your shredded digits. But is biting your fingernails actually dangerous?
Still, stop. It's like licking every surface you touch.
Excessive nail biting is a surprisingly widespread human activity.
It goes back millennia: the ancient Greek philosopher Cleanthes, for instance, was said to be addicted to biting his nails. In the modern era, no one has any good data on how many of us share the affliction (technically called onychophagia), but small-scale studies indicate about 20 percent or so of adults bite regularly — which would suggest millions of Americans do it.
A recent Australian study reported that people with clinical levels of body-focused repetitive behaviours are two to four times more likely to experience other mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety.