Do you end up absentmindedly chewing on or biting your fingernails — and while you attempt to give up the behavior, it simply doesn’t take?

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Rest assured that you simply’re not alone. Although to many individuals, nail biting is an occasional factor, for 20% to 30% (or extra) of Americans, nail biting is a habits they will’t cease on their very own. 

In reality, healthcare suppliers classify continual nail biting as a sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder or a body-focused repetitive habits (BFRB). There’s even a reputation for continual nail biting: Onychophagia.

Although suppliers don’t totally perceive the reason for continual nail biting, there are methods to halt the behavior.  

Preventive drugs doctor and wellness professional Sandra Darling, DO, shares tips on easy methods to cease nail biting.

How do folks cease biting their nails?

When you’re a continual nail biter, you usually wish to cease — and could have even made a number of makes an attempt to give up, with out success. 

Bur folks with onychophagia can’t cease the habits on their very own. In different phrases, it doesn’t assist to inform somebody to cease — and reprimanding them solely makes them really feel worse as a result of it reinforces their emotions of being flawed.

But you can get nearer to restoration with repeated effort and self-care. Dr. Darling normally recommends a mixture remedy method that features:

Behavioral remedy

Therapy may also help launch the disgrace and unfavorable feelings that always accompany nail biting. It also can assist enhance consciousness of your triggers and urges. In some instances, habit-reversal coaching or hypnotherapy are efficient.

Self-care and rest

Self-care — like common meals, extra motion and ample sleep — helps you are feeling calmer, extra assured and resilient, providing you with the energy to get well. Nail biting satisfies a robust urge, so to quiet your thoughts and ease the stress created by the urge, we advocate meditation, journaling and yoga. 

Social help

Talking to a help buddy while you really feel the urge to chunk your nails may also help you get via the anxious second. The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors provides a listing of help teams and academic occasions.

Treatment of any psychiatric issues

People with continual nail biting may have drugs or behavioral remedy to handle a associated situation. We do know that individuals with the next circumstances usually have onychophagia as properly:

Nail biting-deterrent polish

Let’s face it, nail polish doesn’t style good. But there may be really a wide range of nail polishes made particularly to discourage you from biting your nails. This polish tastes significantly bitter or foul on objective — and other people have discovered it to be an efficient option to cease biting.

Why do folks chunk their nails?

Chronic nail biting usually has a self-soothing high quality — the truth is, it offers a way of calm — so folks could use it as a coping mechanism. 

Sometimes, a hangnail or nail imperfection spurs you to groom a nail excessively, so as to enhance the look of your nail. Unfortunately, this usually makes the nail look worse.

People additionally chunk their nails when feeling careworn or bored, whereas watching TV or when specializing in a process like studying. 

When does nail biting turn into an issue?

You ought to search medical remedy if nail biting is inflicting bodily injury to your nail, cuticle or surrounding pores and skin, or if there are indicators of an an infection (together with redness, ache or swelling).

If nail biting is inflicting you psychological misery, comparable to disgrace, anxiousness, melancholy or low vanity, a psychological well being supplier may also help. It’s essential to debate your considerations with knowledgeable if the habits is affecting your social life, too, or impacts your skilled life or job efficiency.

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