Can Medication Help With Excessive Nail
Medications are not often used for nail-biting, though some patients prescribed SSRIs for anxiety and depression find that the medication reduces their nail-biting somewhat. Some small studies suggest that N-acetylcysteine, a supplement also being investigated for trichotillomania and excoriation disorder, is more effective at reducing nail-biting behaviors than a placebo, though more research is likely needed.
How Is Onychophagia Treated
The treatment for onychophagia depends on the severity of the nail-biting habit:
- No treatment is necessary for mild onychophagia as a child can often outgrow the habit.
- Dermatologists recommend keeping the nails short and neatly trimmed, manicured, or covered to minimise the temptation to nail-bite.
- The application of bitter-tasting compounds to the nails to discourage nail biting is controversial and not very effective.
- Behaviour modification treatment can be effective.
- Any underlying mental health problem or psychiatric disorder should also be managed.
You Have Restless Leg Syndrome
Another common disorder associated with fidgeting is restless leg syndrome, a disorder that usually plagues sufferers at night or when theyre trying to relax, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The disorder leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling in your legs, one that makes you feel that is necessary to move them, even when the rest of your body is relaxed. While not much is known about the causes of restless leg syndrome, it can be spurred by long periods of inactivity like car rides, long-distance flights, and other activities that require you to sit for a longer amount of time.
Recommended Reading: Is Yawning A Sign Of Anxiety
Read Also: Is It Okay To Take Anxiety Medication
Psychological Reasons Behind Nail Biting
Since we were children, we have been told that nail-biting is a bad habit to have, and sometimes it has been termed as a very disgusting habit too. But this is not a habit that everyone has, and for those who do, some of them turn out to be compulsive nail-biters. Even though its very easy to criticize them for this habit, sometimes the reasons behind it can be psychological and more serious than how it seems from the outside.
The occasional nail-biting is fine and doesnt need to be taken that seriously, but when someone obsessively bites their nails, then its a cause for concern. Excessive nail-biting is also known as onychophagia, and this is one condition that a lot of people suffer from. It is actually quite similar to other grooming disorders such as skin picking and hair pulling. Understanding the psychological reasons behind biting your nails might help you curb this habit, and let go of it for good.
Sucking And Chewing On Pens Or Pencils
This is another bad habit that may have started in your early childhood and may be hard to break when youre an adult.
Pen and pencil chewing and sucking may seem harmless but there are reasons why you need to learn how to curb this bad habit. Its unhygienic:
If you are used to grabbing a pen and putting it in your mouth, you may, one day grab someone elses pen . Always remember that germs quickly spread from hands to mouths.
This bad habit is one that not only harms your teeth but also your reputation in the long run. You dont want to be known as the person in the office that you cant let borrow a pen.
Here are some ways to help you break this nervous habit:
- Try using your keyboard or your phone to take notes instead of pens/pencils.
- Choose to use pens with ends that are hard to chew, or pencils with big erasers.
- Coat the ends with a bitter substance, cover it with tape, or cover it with something furry.
- Keep healthy bite-sized snacks near you.
- Instead of chewing on your pen, eat something else to curb your oral fixation.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Help Someone With Social Anxiety
Coat Nails With Bitter Polish
There are plenty of people out there who struggle with nail biting. Thats why there are nail polishes designed to help you stop. They wont hurt you if you do put your nails in your mouth, but the bitter taste may give you second thoughts.
You can buy them wherever you buy nail polish, or you can speak with a manicurist or dermatologist for more ideas along this line.
Why We Bite Our Nails Instead Of Other Alternatives
Of course, this theory still prompts a more basic question: why does biting your nails or plucking your hairs or picking at your skin provide pleasure or distraction in the first place? Why do so many people become addicted to these grooming habits, rather than, say, balling their hands up into fists?
One possible answer relates to the finding that people with body-focused repetitive disorders tend to be perfectionists. It might be that ripping off an oddly shaped nail can provide a satisfying sense of perfection for the biter and the quest for this satisfaction eventually gets out of control.
lots of other animals groom excessively
It’s also possible that the uncontrollable urge to groom excessively goes much deeper than we realize. Lots of other animals, after all, seem to do it, too: some cats lick themselves excessively, leading to fur loss, while some horses bite their own flanks over and over. Perhaps the urge to groom past the point of usefulness to the extent that we actually cause damage to ourselves is a trait that can be traced way back to the evolutionary ancestors we shared with these other mammals.
Finally, there’s a more mundane explanation. Maybe we just bite our nails because they’re there. Psychologists believe that you can get psychologically addicted to pretty much anything: any activity that provides a reward can reinforce itself over time.
Read Also: Does Bupropion Help With Anxiety
Fidget Toys For Anxiety
Recently, there has been a craze about fidget toys. Fidget toys are small devices that you can spin between your fingers. If you have kids, youve probably been forced to buy a fidget spinner or toy. While most kids just see them as fun to play with, many people who use fidget toys claim they provide them with a means of creating a calming sensory experience. Bearing in mind that most of the time people are glued to their screens due to the increase of technology, fidget toys come as a refreshing change. The trend began in 2017, and in most homes and even some classrooms one would find almost every kid with a fidget toy.
There are, however, concerns about the usefulness of these devices for anxiety and whether or not they should be allowed in the hands of children and young adults. So, whats the big deal about fidget toys for anxiety? The answer might surprise you.
More About Fidget Toys for Anxiety
Fidget toys are colorful, handheld devices that users rotate between their fingers. They are typically small enough to fit into ones pocket. While most young children see them as something fun to play with, many people who use fidget toys claim that they get a calming sensory experience from them. Fidget toys can take different shapes and forms, but most of them are made up of disc-holding, paddle-like wings that are designed to spin between your fingers with little-to-no effort.
Do Fidget Toys Really Help with Anxiety?
How It Works
Childhood History Or Childhood Trauma
The behavior of nail-biting is normally associated with anxiety, mental pressure, and tension, and doing it relieves some of the stress that you feel in your mind. Sometimes nail-biting can originate in your childhood when perhaps you used to bite your nails in order to cope with the stress and pressure at your home or school. Because you were a child, and you didnt really have a lot of power to handle the negative experiences coming your way, so biting your nails served as a coping mechanism.
The habit of biting nails usually starts at the age of 5 or 6 years, and boys are more likely to have this habit than girls. As children gradually step into adulthood and mature as people, they find it hard to let go of this habit, no matter how hard they may try. The shadows of their childhood experiences, stress, trauma, and anxiety stay with them well into their adulthood and make it harder for them to let go of this compulsive habit.
You May Like: How To Cope With Severe Anxiety
How To Overcome Nervousness
It is possible that you may exemplify one or more of these signs of nervousness. There are many other signs not listed that may apply to you too. The first step to dealing with these nervousness body language cues is to recognize which ones you exude. The next step is to learn how to overcome nervousness.
There are many different techniques and practices dealing with how to overcome nervousness. The biggest, and most impactful technique, however, is simply to practice withholding these cues. If you are prepping for an interview, sign up for practice interviews. If you are preparing for a speech, practice in front of a mirror. Take note of which signs of nervousness you display and ask for feedback from others as well. From there, continue to practice until you get more confidence, and the signs of nervousness begin to subside. Combating nerves is all about getting into a more comfortable personal space and gaining more confidence, and the best way to do this is practice, practice, practice!
As mentioned above, there are also some available treatments for a few of the signs of nervousness that can not be as easily helped, like facial blushing and excessive sweating. If you are dealing with one of these signs of nervousness and would like to learn more about different options to help diminish them, explore the rest of the Center of Hyperhidrosiss website! We are experts in this field and would love to help you learn more and discuss various treatment options.
How To Quit Biting Your Nails
Different psychologists recommend slightly different techniques for quitting, but they mostly boil down to one common strategy: identifying the circumstances that lead you to bite, and changing them. “We try to identify all the triggers and control them in various ways either by blocking them or by finding substitutes,” Penzel says.
For instance, if you habitually bite your nails while watching TV, you might chew gum or use your hands to play with an object whenever you sit down on the couch to watch. You might also set out signs and reminders next to the couch, reinforcing the idea that you do not want to bite.The same goes for different emotions or feelings that usually make you bite: if being frustrated is a trigger for you, try to alter the circumstances in some way, by giving yourself something else to do or making it harder to bite.
you can try a clear nail polish that tastes absolutely terrible
If you still can’t stop, there’s also a way to make nail biting way less palatable no matter what the circumstance: clear nail polishes that taste absolutely terrible. They’re harmless, but once you paint these on, even brief contact between your mouth and your nails will leave a bitter, disgusting taste in your mouth until you eat something else. Some people have success combining this with other strategies.
Read Also: Do I Have Agoraphobia Or Social Anxiety
Early Theories On Why We Bite Our Nails Have Been Rejected
Most of the early explanations of nail biting have been thoroughly disregarded. Sigmund Freud, for instance, believed that excessive nursing during infancy could lead to a so-called “oral receptive” personality and a tendency to chew on nails and other objects, as well as a distinct preference for oral sex. He had no evidence for this idea, and subsequent followers of his ideas didn’t turn up any, either.
Later, some researchers considered nail biting, hair plucking and skin picking as mild forms of self-harm the intentional injuring of oneself, often by cutting. Under this theory, biting one’s nails would be sign of hostility towards oneself.
Undercutting this idea, however, is the fact that most nail biters aren’t particularly fond of the damage their habit causes and for many people, it’s the main reason they want to quit. Starting in the 1990s, most psychologists began distinguishing it and body-focused repetitive disorders from more severe forms of self-harm.
freud believed that nail biting was a sign of an “oral receptive” personality
As they’ve begun to better understand the behavior, one big question is whether it should be grouped in with obsessive-compulsive disorder . Though the latest DSM puts nail biting in a broader category with OCD, many of those who specifically study body-focused repetitive disorders disagree.
“The word ‘obsessive’ doesn’t really apply,” says Penzel. “Every behavior that’s repetitive is not necessary a compulsion.”
Nail Biting Is A Sign Of This Personality Trait
If you asked a bunch of people what they thought about nail biting, most of them would probably describe it as a nervous habit.
But according to new research, anxiety might not actually be the driving force behind finger-chomping and other body-focused repetitive behaviors.
Instead, the study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry points the finger at perfectionism?
We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a normal pace, said study author Dr. Kieron OConnor. They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals.
In other words, its not anxiety that nail-biters are trying to quell its frustration.
Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of Social Anxiety
Assessing The Impact Of Onychophagia
While there is no assessment tool specific to onychophagia itself, some research has centred on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. This mental health tool is able to assess a variety of emotional and behaviour problems, including inattention and hyperactive behaviour, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and prosocial behaviour. When dealing with onychophagia, it can be useful to consider the issues covered in this questionnaire as a way to look for relationships/associations that may influence the individuals nail-biting habit.
What Causes Anxiety Lip Biting
Lip biting may be a sign of underlying anxiety, but it almost always occurs with other symptoms.
One would think that lip biting would have an obvious cause. After all, millions of people do it, and it’s an extremely common anxiety symptom. But unfortunately, no one is sure what causes lip biting or why it occurs. It’s essentially a nervous habit – a an anxious behavior.
No one knows why people have these types of motor tics or what relationship they have to anxiety. But they can often develop into bad habits, and once the tic has become a habit, it can be hard to break.
Also Check: How Are Anxiety And Depression Related