Nail biting

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A person habit to bite his nails is a repetitive behavior that results in the destruction of nails and often skin around the nails, and cuticles.

Vice can become quite serious, so those who bite nails can experience bleeding, bruising, infection or permanent damage to fingers. Behavior is often unconscious and persons concerned may have difficulty in terms of stopping this negative habit, as the involved actions are unaware.

Compulsive nail biting is classified by psychiatrists as impulse control disorder.


1. Overview
2. Underlying cause of compulsive nail biting
3. Terminology
4. How can you stop nail biting?

Underlying cause of compulsive nail biting

The cause of this defect is probably a combination of biological and environmental factors. Many animals engage in activities that involve excessive scratching of the skin, and some researchers have theorized that there is a self-care control mechanism that causes these behaviors.

Scientists have found that mice that don’t have a specific gene that causes their employment in habits which involve compulsive care may lead compounds to the lack of hair in certain portions of fur. These behaviors may increase when stress levels increase.

Obsessive nail biting is observed in people with obsessive compulsive disorder and dysmorphic body disorder. The most common form of compulsive self-mutilation is trichotillomania or hair pulling that affects some people with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Because it is a repetitive behavior and commonly found in people with obsessive compulsive disorder, is considered an obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder. These disorders tend to run in the same family. There are many reasons that people bearing their fingernails continue this behavior:

- Self-comfort – for some people this behavior makes them more calm, having a soothing effect on the nervous system.

- Stimulation – on the other hand, when some people are bored or inactive, they feel better when they bite their nails. Action can help keep a person alert to not get bored.

- Perfectionism – those who bite their nails can spend hours examining their nails or fingers to detect the smallest irregularities and then try to improve them hoping to get an improved appearance. Paradoxically, those who bite their nails often look worse despite their efforts.

- Nail-biting may be a cycle that perpetuates and that could lead to embarrassment and anxiety. These, in turn, can cause several types of behaviors.


- Repetitive self-injury – the most common behaviors performed by individuals suffering from compulsive self-mutilation are not dangerous but can become extreme. These include:
- Hair pulling
- Nail-biting and scratching
- Scratching the skin and scabs that form.

Although it may be difficult to imagine, nail biting can become a major aspect of life and can interfere with relationships, work and overall well-being of a person. If they do not recognize this problem as a real disorder, many patients are not treated.

People who compulsively bite their nails can result in losing control feel but do not know where to turn for help. Nail biting is a problem that can be treated with behavioral therapy and medication.

- Medications – The most commonly used drugs to treat this negative are antidepressants that are part of the same group as those used for obsessive compulsive behaviors.

It may take even few weeks processing and management of these drugs until you can see the results. There is also the possibility that their action to be incomplete. An improvement in a proportion of 65% is considered a good result.

- Natural remedies – When the situation improves some patients following administration of vitamin B inositol. It is broken down by the body into two neurotransmitters that enhance serotonin activity in the brain.

Serotonin is a transmitter in the brain that may be involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder and related events. Inositol can be taken in large quantities, without risk of toxic effect, as it is soluble in water.

How can you stop nail biting?

1. Confront the problem – Take a camera and take some pictures to some bitted nails. Examine the nails and see what their problems are.

2. Set a day to stop biting nails. Set an alert or mark once you feel that you may be ready to quit the habit.

3. Visualize yourself with strong and healthy nails that will look great. It may be useful to seek a manicure after you stop bite your nails, so your nails to become more and more beautiful.

4. Try to cover your nails with bright nail polish to draw your attention when you bite or you can try to call a professional for acrylic nail application.

5. Make efforts to protect the nails and try to no longer bite them. Select at least one nail that to protect. After a few days that will not be bitted, your nail will grow and you can admire it. If you can’t master the impulse, bite other nails, but not those protected.

6. Eat foods rich in calcium and magnesium so that nails will repair and grow quickly.

7. Push cuticles back. This will be done after a shower when your hands and nails are wet. Push back your cuticles to reveal the nails as much as you can. Thus, the nail will look beautiful and will be more attractive, which could be a motivation to stop biting nails.

8. Find a habit to replace nail-biting. Whenever you feel the need to bite your nails, do something else. The important thing is not to replace the bad habit with another.

9. Try to keep your mouth busy munching carrots or chewing gum when you want to bite your nails.

10. Cover nails. For women, the alternative would be artificial nails. This can be very helpful. Men can be applied solutions that encourage nail growth or grease.



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