How to Quit Biting Your Nails

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Biting fingernails is a bad habit that usually originating from childhood. Approximately sixty percent of children bite their nails and forty five percent of teenagers.  Nail biting becomes less common through adulthood, but still a lot of adults are unaware of their nail biting since it has become an unconscious habit.

Some nail biting can be triggered by emotions. Nail biting suspense of watching a horror movie, boredom of a long and lifeless class, anxious feelings or life changing decisions. Boredom and stress are the main triggers for nail biting in most people. This bad habit is often used as a way to keep the mind and body busy and relieve anxiety. Fear, sadness and frustration can also lead to nail biting. This habit is said to be affected more by psychological factors than physical. It does not give physical satisfaction such as receiving a hug or eating delicious food. Some studies have shown that some genes are more prone to nail biting than others.

Nail biting can vary mild once in a blue moon occurrence, occasional ongoing habit and serious medical problem.

Excessive nail biting will cause damage to the skin surrounding the nail and the nail itself. This can cause the nail to be deformed and brittle. The area around the nail can be sore and bleeding due to nail biting. It becomes more prone to bacteria and viruses. Since the nails are in the hands it is more prone to transferring infection to the eyes, mouth and face.

Regular or excessive nail biting is considered to be a form of self-mutilation. Self-mutilation is an underlying symptom of mental disorder. Samples of self-mutilation is cutting, burning or bruising.

Nail biting can also damage the teeth, making it weak and poorly aligned. The appearance of bitten nails can also cause self-esteem issues.

Stop Biting Your Nails With These Treatments:

–      Keep your nails short. Practice trimming your nails once a week to prevent it from getting long enough to be bitten.

–      There is now nail polish specifically made for people with nail biting problems. These types of nail polish will taste incredibly bitter, but will have no damage to the nails. The taste of the polish will prevent you from biting. If you can’t find these types of nail polish try using clear or colored nail polish instead. This technique works really well with children.

–      Maintaining and keeping your nails clean and tidy may prevent you from biting your nails. Investing in your nails with manicures and nail treatments will make it look attractive. When you put more efforts on your nails the less likely will you try to ruin them with nail biting.

–      If you have a nail biting episodes due to stress. Find other methods of stress relief. You can use meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or using a stress ball. You can also opt for using the paper clip technique or the rubber band. Always have a paper-clip handy, flick it open and close when you feel stressed. The same goes to the rubber band, place one or two on your wrist and flick or snap it when feeling stressed or anxious.

–      When at home wear gloves to prevent from biting your nails. Wear gloves that are hard to remove, nail biting can be a momentary compulsion. When faced with a time consuming effort or obstacle for the compulsion the mind tends to wander elsewhere.

–      Wrap each finger with foil or adhesive. This works, how gloves work. You can apply new bandages every time you shower.

–      Take one nail at a time, pick a specific nail that you won’t bite for the week. Continue this until you stop biting all of your nails.

–      Keep your hands and mouth distracted. Chew gum when you feel stressed, play the piano, play video games or perform puzzles. You can clasp your hands tightly when you feel the urge to bite your nails. The pressure will remove the urge to bite your nails.

–      Dip your nails in hot sauce. The spiciness will prevent you from biting into them.

–      Place your hands in your pocket when you feel the urge to bite them. Keep it there until the urge passes.

–      Snack on some healthy foods throughout the day. Healthy snacking will prevent you from eating, putting your nails to your mouth.

–      Wearing fake nails will prevent you from biting them. Artificial nails will protect your natural nails from damage and acrylic nails are hard to bite off.

Biting the fingernail can be a symptom of a psychological condition. People who deal with OCD or Obsessive Compulsive disorder have impulses that are compulsive such as washing their hands 8 times before leaving the house or checking everything is closed before going to sleep. Nail biting can be one of these impulses. Nail biting from this disorder may need therapy and medication.

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