Nail biting also known as Onychophagia or Onychophagy is an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and is prevalent among children as well as adults. Approximately, 60% of children and 45% of teenagers have this habit. Sometimes children pick up the habit by observing others.The most common reasons for biting nails are stress, boredom, anxiety and frustration. Biting nails can cause the skin around the nails to get damaged, cause infections in the mouth, fingers and stomach and in extreme cases damage the nail bed. Prolonged nail biting can also lead to misalignment of the teeth. Most nail biting stems from boredom, but in some cases, nail biting may be due to psychological disorders. As with any other problem, we will have to identify the root cause in order to deal with the issue. It is better to take professional help if it is caused due to psychological problems.
There Are Several Ways To Stop Nail Biting:
Coat Your Nails:
You can try coating your nails with nail polish or applying neem oil on the nails. The bitter taste will stop you from biting the nails. Repeat the nail coating as and when necessary.
Pamper your nails by spending money on a manicure. This will make you guilty while biting nails because of the money spent and gradually you can stop biting nails.
Cover Your Nails:
Cover your nails using tape or bandage so that the nail is not accessible for biting. You may also use gloves if it does not interfere with your everyday activity.
Trim Your Nails:
Keep your nails trim and clean so that there is no nail available to bite. Keep in mind that if you try to bite trimmed nails it may easily cause bleeding and infection.
Keep Your Hands And Mouth Busy:
Chew a candy or do knitting. Take up a new hobby and keep yourself busy so that you will not get the time to bite nails. Or you can simply squeeze a stress ball whenever you get the urge to bite your nails.
Try Professional Help
If your nail biting is severe and your day to day activities are affected by it you can try seeking professional help. For some people the problem is very severe and can lead to continued loss of nails, severe bleeding, etc. There are medications available as well as techniques such as habit reversal, meditation, hypnosis that may be followed in order to get relief.