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Why do people bite their nails?

The clinical name for the nail biting is “chronic onychophagia”.

Mostly nail biting starts from the childhood and it gradually becomes habit as a person grows up. And if this habit is because of nervous condition then instead of removing the habit we should try to find the condition and treat it. We can find these conditions with the help psychologist and during process you will come across certain things that you do not remember consciously for long time.

Nervous condition is a condition which has developed in the child’s growing stage but triggered later or comes up later on a certain happening or event. Many doctors believe that unless you come across that happening or event you never go for nail biting. So in this case it is more important to find the condition than to try removing habit.

A person many times start biting his finger nails or toe nails when he or she is in stress, feeling boredom, hunger or in nervousness and wants to get rid of these by biting their nails. It can also be caused due to mental, emotional or physical disorder.

You can try to avoid nail biting by holding any object or thing that keeps your hands busy whenever you feel like biting. Women can use nail paints to avoid the habit or you can apply products made to resist nail biting by applying it on your nails. These products leave bad taste in your mouth whenever you will bite nails. So whenever you will try to bite nail you will remember your resolution to not to bite. You can also put a stretchy band around your wrist which will constantly reminds you of your resolution.

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  1. Nail-biting is not a good habit, but is a useful and efficient habit for tens of millions of people, who need stress outlets. As an adult nail-biter, I have been on-line searching for information to understand why such a universally mainstream habit is so condemned. My conclusion is that it is a visible and ugly habit that society associates with poor grooming, bad hygiene, lack of self-control , low self-esteem, and possibly a form of mental disorder. But everyone understands that nail-biting is a characteristic among humans that will always be with us and never be eradicated. It used to bother me that I did not outgrow the habit, but learned that I can lead a normal, happy, and productive life even though I bite my nails. Anybody afflicted with the habit should understand that. .

  2. I have been biting my nails form i was a child growing until now i am a adult, it doesnt matter what i do i still find a way to bite my nails.I use nail polish and i still bite it i just avoid the taste it brings i even go to the extend by putting on tips (false nail) and i bite it off until it reaches my real nails.I bite my nails until it bled.Sometimes when i cant get enough from my fingers i start to cut my toe nails and eat from it. I need to stop that habbit, and need to know how please help

    NB: I have small fingers

  3. I have always believed that nail biting is from stress and anxiety and I notice when I have been taking anti-anxiety meds that it quells the urge to bite even though sometimes I don’t realize I am biting my nails and skin. My habit seems to be worse when watching television.
    I suppose that is another bad habit.
    As a child I always had to be on guard concerning different issues, not blaming family….just saying how I think it all got started. Unfortunately my daughter has the same habit also at least one brother.

  4. I have been biting my nails since i was very young. Now, at thirteen years old i still do it. I don’t believe that nail bitting is a cause of nervousness for me. I think it’s possible to stop if you have self- control and will power. Just put your mind to it and it will be possible. I am just conducting researches because I am suffering from this habit. It also causes me stomach aches but i still can’t stop.

  5. I HAVE BEEN BITING MY NAILS SINCE I WAS CHILD AND TILL NOW . MANY TIME I WAS SCOLDED BY MY PARENTS, FRIENDS AND TEACHERS. I USED NAIL POLISH, TIED MY HANDS WITH TOWEL BUT NO BENIFIT. EVERY WHERE I FELL SHAME BECAUSE OF MY NAIL BITING. SOMETIMES I BITE MY NAIL THAT THEY STARTS TO BLED. I NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP IT. SO PLEASE HELP ME.

  6. I’m 14 years old and i’ve been biting my nails for as long as i can remember. I bite them until they bleed, and i eat them. I eat the skin around them too. It’s discusting and it’s ruining my teeth. My teeth are getting grooves in them where i rub my nails to get it off of my fingers. My mom has tried so many things. She tried grounding me, holding my hands down, even getting me the nail polish that has an awkward, bitter taste, but none of it works. I’m an extrememly nervous person and i KNOW that anxiety is an issue of mine. I think my nail biting has stemed from the anxieties and the stresses of being a teenage girl, but that doesn’t explain why i can remember biting my nails even when i was 7 years old. The worst part about the whole thing is i don’t want to stop, but i’ve heard so many horror stories about it resulting in deformed fingers, or permanently short nails. Also, something i’ve noticed a lot more lately, since it’s just becoming spring, is i’ve been getting sick so much more than i usually do. I wash my hands about 30 times a day just so i can bite my nails, but i still seem to get sick. I guess i’m not necessarily asking for help, i just want to know why i can’t stop.

  7. This habit of mine is a curse. I am 30 years old and have been biting my nails to nothing since I could remember. I am not an overall nervous or anxious person. My better half tells me to stop when I don’t even know I’m doing it. My nails are disgusting. On my right hand, if you looked at my ring finger all you would see is a 1/4 inch wide strip of nail off of my cuticle. It hasn’t been longer than that for years. I just can’t leave it alone. I wouldn’t say I have a mental disorder. In fact, not to sound narssistic, I am fairly smart person. I read way too much and I can’t stop even if I hate what I’m reading. I have a fairly good memory of what I read too even if it was 10 years ago. I only sleep like 3-5 hours a night and it has been that way since I was an early teenager. World events do worry me though. Especially since I have a son now. I do get worked up over his future and his generations. Is anybody like this? I need to stop before my son picks this habit up too. Please help. It’s harder to quit than smoking and drinking.

  8. Based on the comments above, the anxiety and guilt that nail-biters experience from the habit is worse than the habit itself. The best cure for real hard-core biters is not beating yourself up but learning to live with the habit if willpower and conventional methods of stopping do not work. Granted, the habit may be a little unsanitary and many think it is uncouth. You can get infections if your hygience is bad as well as dental problems, but there are worse imperfections and health risks that humans universally have. We have to concentrate on the positives and living happy lives.

  9. I’m Thembi i have been biting my nails since i was very young and its actually very hard for me to let go of it. I really can’t stop it and i don’t know why? but i think its helping because thats another way of thinking and it relax my mind and always keeping me busy with panic.

  10. I have been biting my nails for as long as I can remember and everyone tried to make me stop. Now I dont give it a second thought, I just realized its howI deal with my anxiety. Its a coping mechanism. I also take it as a sign, sometimes I dont know that I am anxious till I realize Im biting my nails- then I deal with the issue. So it doesnt put a damper on my life anymore- Its me!

  11. I think nail biting is due to low self esteem. I’ve always been a very nervous person too.I would bite my nails constantly.. The skin on the back of the fingers would peel back and was agony. The worse thing was picking at my toes. This was worse than the fingers as sometimes I couldn’t walk for the pain or even put shoes on. All of my life I have been depressed but then I stated taking Cod Liver Oil every day. Took away the depression after about five months. I no longer feel nervous. I started to feel better about myself. I’m more out going now. I also take a magnesium supplement in the evening which helps. It’s a great feeling to not be ashamed if someone watches me writing. I remember an incident in a Tesco pharmacy. The pharmacist was watching me fill out the back of a precription. His eyes were on my bitten down ugly nails. He didn’t say anything but I burned with shame. I knew I couldn’t go on any longer with this. I hope everyone can overcome this problem. Just imagine yourself on a bus full of people and you no longer have to hide your hands. You can press the button and hold onto the rail and it will feel great.

  12. I would bite my nails often for many years. I started taking a really good vitamin and stopped chewing my nails. If I would forget to take the vitamin I started chewing my nails again. I tried other vitamins (cheaper ones) and it did not help. I do not think it is a nervous condition as many have suggested to me. I think nail biters actually are lacking something in their diet and to compensate are actually eating their nails and skin. Sounds disgusting doesn’t it. I have recently joined Weight Watchers plus. I am finding that in order to meet their points requirement daily I am eating all the time. I am also not chewing my nails! Thus, my only deduction is that I was lacking some sort of vitamin or perhaps not nourishing my body with healthy foods? I have no desire to chew my nails anymore. I use to be really bad. Plus I am almost 60 years old so have lived with this my whole life….So my suggestion would be to check your diet…Are you eating enough food and are you eating foods that nourish your body sufficiently? That seems to help me. Plus take a really good multivitamin. Don’t buy the cheapest vitamin out there but one that is a good balanced supplement. That would be my suggestion.

  13. I have been biting my nails for as long as I can remember and I thought it would be something I would eventually grow out of (I am 33). Its a habit I can’t stop, I’ve tried many things including nail paint which tastes really gross but I still bite my nails and the skin. I have noticed that the only time I do not bite my nails is when I’m not in a relationship and in the early stages of a new relationship (maybe anxiety issues?!) I know its not the most hygienic habit and my friends do tell me to stop biting my nails but recently I have started getting a bit annoyed with other people telling me to stop. I’ve just accepted that I have this habit, I’ve tried many things and nothing has worked. Maybe one day I will stop it, maybe I won’t, but I don’t see the point in stressing myself out about this habit. Everyone has a flaw, no one is perfect.

  14. Nail biting is a sign of self-preoccupation.

  15. hi im 30years old guy i have a problem i think its mental now, i cant stop eating my nail the look so disguisting, ive been doing it now since i was yuoung, please help

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