Beach Hypnosis … Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie quit biting her nails with hypnosis. It’s one of the most common nervous habits. Nail biting often begins in childhood and peaks in adolescence. Between 28-33 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 10, 44 percent of adolescents, and 19-29 percent of young adults gnaw their fingernails. Ten to 20 percent of men and women continue biting their nails during adulthood, and it is slightly more prevalent among males.
But this quirk isn’t skin deep, for some people, it’s a sign of a much deeper issue.
The American Psychiatric Association classifies nail biting as an impulse control disorder and a sign of underlying anxiety that statistically shows up more often in males.
Why we chew our nails?
Doctors debate whether it’s a learned habit, genetics, or a sign of anxiety. Stress, frustration and boredom are the main nail biting culprits for most people. The habit is often a way to ease anxiety or to keep at least one part of the body occupied while the mind lacks -interest.
Biting fingernails can also be a symptom of a psychological condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Many children who are nail biters also have other psychiatric disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), separation anxiety disorder, or bed-wetting.
Nail biting has both physical and emotional consequences. Constant nail biting causes severe damage to the nails, teeth and gums. The area of skin around nails may bleed and become infected.
The appearance of bitten-down fingernails can also be embarrassing, which can only add to anxiety and stress.
Nail Biting Treatment
Avoiding triggers such as boredom, managing anxiety, keeping nails short or manicured, coating nails with a bitter-tasting nail biting polish and keeping hands and mouth busy, such as playing an instrument or chewing gum could prevent chewing nails.
If you’ve tried these techniques and nothing worked, wear gloves or put self-adhesive bandages on the tips of your fingers so your nails won’t be accessible to bite.
Interested in learning more about Hypnotherapy? Check out the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association.