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How To Break The Habit Of Biting Your Nails

Keep Clippers Or A File Around At All Times

How to Stop Biting Your Nails Break The Habit Permanently

A Reddit thread titled tips to stop nail biting is filled with comments from biters who advocate keeping clippers or a file to hand.

‘The reason I bite my nails is because I hate the rough edges catching on to things, but that creates more rough edges. Vicious cycle. Now I just file them when I’m bored to make them nice and smooth.’

Q: How Do People Stop Biting Nails

A: Doctors classify chronic nail biting as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder since the person has difficulty stopping. People often want to stop and make multiple attempts to quit without success. People with onychophagia cannot stop the behavior on their own, so its not effective to tell a loved one to stop. While you want whats best for them, reprimanding only reinforces their feelings of being flawed. It can make someone feel worse and further fuel the behavior. With repeated effort and self-care, people can get closer to recovery. We usually recommend a combination treatment approach that includes:

There Are Things You Can Do To Help You Stop Biting Your Nails

It might be possible for some people to go cold turkey, but many people will need some strategies to guide them. The tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association are a great place to start. They offer a mix of practical strategies as well as mental exercises that can help you. For example, among the strategies recommended by the AADA are identifying your nail-biting triggers, keeping your nails clipped short, and taking a gradual approach . The AADA also explains that nail biting might be a sign of emotional or psychological distress. So if youve tried to stop biting your nails and cant, theres no harm in contacting your doctor to discuss your concerns. And if you develop an infection from nail biting, a dermatologist or other healthcare provider can help you treat it, the AADA says.

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Why Do We Bite Our Nails

More often than not, nail-biting is a symptom of stress or anxiety and a habit that affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. But for some, it can be more severe than others.

“Its a type of body-focused repetitive behavior,” says Dr. Sanam Hafeez. “Theres a range of nail-biting. It can span from an occasional behavior to a self-mutilative behavior.”

While it can become a lifelong habit for some, for most, it’s a habit that’s easy to outgrow.

“For most, it’s a way to release tension and provide soothing, similar to how children are soothed by sucking their thumbs. Hand to mouth behavior an outgrowth of the desire for oral satisfaction, with nursing being the earliest form. Some women play with their hair for similar soothing results,” says Vivian Diller, PhD.

Acceptance And Commitment Therapy

How To Stop Biting Nails  Angela

A promising treatment approach that may serve to add strength to other cognitive behavior therapies is called acceptance and commitment therapy , developed by Steven Hayes. This approach differs from others in that it promotes an increased acceptance of, and tolerance for, urges to pick or pull, without acting to reduce or eliminate them. Thus, individuals are asked to experience negative emotions that come before or after pulling as events to be observed without judgment rather than as events that must be acted upon. Understanding, feeling and experiencing that one does not have to respond to an urge or emotion can be quite freeing.

Understanding a Patientâs Values

A key part of ACT is to understand what is meaningful and important to the individual. What do they want to be remembered for? The rest of treatment is set in this context. Patients ask themselves throughout treatment if what they are doing in the BFRB process is moving them in a way that is consistent or inconsistent with their stated values.

Understanding How Patients Relate to Urges and Negative Experiences

Part of the therapy process involves discussing how the patient uses pulling/ picking and other methods to reduce or eliminate urges, anxiety, or sensations that they experience as unpleasant. Through this process, it is often the case that patients have not found an effective and healthy strategy to control these experiences that does not also prevent them from doing things that they value.

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Is Nail Biting Actually That Bad

Heres the thing: Some viruses live on surfaces and when we touch those spots and then touch our eyes, nose, or mouths, we run the risk of helping those germs get into our bodies, Philip Tierno, Ph.D., microbiologist and clinical professor of pathology at NYU Langone, previously told SELF. Its not a given that biting your nails will make you sick more frequently than those who dont, but putting your fingers in your mouth isnt doing your immune system any favors.

But even if youre not thinking about germs, biting your fingernails can also cause damage to your nail bed, the Mayo Clinic explains. This can leave tiny cuts that put you at greater risk for bacteria and fungus to hang out and cause infections, the Mayo Clinic says. Biting your fingernails can also potentially damage your teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic. All of that means its best to keep your fingernails out of your mouth. So, how to do that you may wonder?

Why Does Nail Biting Happen

If nail biting has such unpleasant consequences, then why do so many people do it? It isnt fully understood yet, but studies have indicated that it can be an effect of anxiety, boredom, or perfectionism. Similar repetitive behaviors include skin picking and hair pulling. Often, people may not even notice themselves doing it, and this can make it much harder to stop.

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Why Is Biting Nails Bad For Us

In the long term its unlikely that nail biting will cause any long-term damage.

Your nails are formed just beneath where the circular cuticles begin, known as the nail bed so as long as that stays intact, its unlikely that youll cause too many issues.

However, there is still risk when it comes to biting your nails. These include:

  • You may increase the risk of infection by damaging the skin around the nail
  • There is an increased risk of catching colds and other infections as you spread germs from your fingers to your mouth
  • You can harm your teeth

Take An Emotional Intelligence Assessment To Identify Your Thought Triggers

5 Ways to Stop Biting Your Nails!

If you are not sure why you are biting your nails, you can take an emotional intelligence assessment to find out. An emotional intelligence assessment is a set of questions that helps you identify your thought triggers.It can help you identify the underlying issues that may be causing you to bite your nails.If you are not sure why you are biting your nails, you can take an emotional intelligence assessment to find out. An emotional intelligence assessment is a set of questions that helps you identify your thought triggers.

It can help you identify the underlying issues that may be causing you to bite your nails.

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Reasons Why We Bite Our Nails

Another name of nail-biting is chronic onychophagia, which they say is the most common stress-relieving habit. Another reason why we bite our nails is that whenever were nervous or simply bored. Sometimes, we dont even notice that were biting it until we go to the salon for a manicure. Whatever reasons and cases may be, one things for sure- its not good because there lie various risks.

These risks include:

1. It can damage the tissue, which helps in growing your nails.

2. Abnormal growth of nails.

3. Youll get frequent colds and other illnesses because of the dirty fingers.

4. It can damage your teeth from chewing hard nails.

5. Soreness or Infection both inside and outside the skin around your nails.

6. There will be changes in how your nails look.

Risks And Side Effects Of Nail Biting

A common side effect of nail biting is visible damage to the nails and the surrounding areas. This damage may result in an unappealing cosmetic appearance, potentially causing feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment for some individuals. It can also increase the risk of other complications, including:

Other potential complications include alveolar destruction and intestinal parasitic infections.

Onychophagia is also associated with various psychiatric conditions, although it does not cause them. These conditions include:

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Can Fake Nails Help Prevent Nail Biting

Fake nails not only hide your own bitten nails, but they make it increasingly difficult to bite, acting as something of a mask over the problem.

“If theres an artificial nail on top of your natural nail, this makes it more difficult to bite your natural nail,” says Grant.

“Like with any habit, substituting it with another activity or changing the behavior can help break the cycle. When women wear fake nails, it creates a temporary interference with nail-biting behavior,” says Diller.

Despite the temptation to have long, luxurious digits, it is best to start off having very short nailsprobably just to the ends of your fingertips. A long nail extension adds weight and may even tear the underlying and especially weak nail away from the bed, potentially causing long-term damage.

How To Break A Nail Biting Habit

How To Stop Biting Nails  Angela

The solution to your nail-biting problem

  • Maintain a short length for your nail clippings. When there is less nail, there is less to bite on, which makes it less enticing.
  • You should paint your nails with a nail polish that has a bitter taste.
  • Get frequent manicures.
  • Find a healthier habit to replace the one where you bite your nails.
  • Identify your triggers.
  • Make an effort to gradually quit chewing your fingernails and cuticles.
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    Take Your Teeth Into Consideration

    You may have your dental hygiene routine down but biting your nails could be setting your mouth health back, bigtime.

    Biting your nails can cause problems down the line like cracked and chipped teeth. Use this as motivation to stop biting your nails unless you really do want to go and sit in that dentist chair.

    Is Nail Biting Linked To Adhd

    ADHD in Females ADHD in females is frequently misdiagnosed because it is more challenging to recognize than ADHD in men. This results in a higher rate of misdiagnosis. Hyperactivity is often the major symptom of ADHD in males, while attention deficit hyperactivity impulsivity is typically the primary symptom in females.

    They also have a tendency to internalize their disease, which can lead to a condition known as separation anxiety disorder. A person is said to have separation anxiety disorder if they suffer from excessive anxiety for their age, which leads to considerable suffering and interferes with their ability to operate normally on a day-to-day basis.

    Girls who have ADHD are more likely to experience difficulties with self-esteem, underachievement, sadness, and anxiety as they continue to mature. In addition to this, they could struggle to operate normally at school, in social settings, or even with their family.

    • On the other hand, research has shown that women who have ADHD are perfectionists who place a high value on their intellect.
    • The majority of women build a strong foundation for their self-esteem early in life through their scholastic achievements.
    • This process of building ones self-esteem continues throughout adulthood however, achieving academic achievement is now far more difficult to do.
  • As a result of their pessimism and impulsivity, women who have ADHD but have not been properly identified have a higher risk of inflicting self-injury.
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    Bring Out The Vinegar

    This bitter-tasting ingredient is probably ready and waiting in your kitchen cupboard to help put an end to your nail-biting woes!

    Whether its malt, apple cider or wine vinegar, dilute a few drops into water and dip your fingernails into it .

    Let it dry naturally on your nails and serve as a pongy reminder to stop biting your nails.

    Visualize Your Dream Nails

    How to stop biting your nails

    Think of it as a vision board but instead of plastering it with pics of your perfect home, fill it up shots of what you want your nails to look like. You can totally do this the old-school way or the digital version . The visual cue will help you remember why you’re working so hard to overcome your nail-biting habit.

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    Create A Plan To Help You Quit The Bad Behavior

    If you are not sure why you are biting your nails, you can take an emotional intelligence assessment to find out. An emotional intelligence assessment is a set of questions that helps you identify your thought triggers. It can help you identify the underlying issues that may be causing you to bite your nails.Now that you know why you are biting your nails and how to break the habit, its time to create a plan to help you quit the bad behavior.Make a commitment to yourself to stop biting your nails, and create a plan to help you succeed. List all the things you need to do in order to break the nail biting habit, and make a commitment to yourself to follow through with it all.To help you quit the bad behavior of nail biting, you may want to try using a nail file to file down your nails, or filing your nails at a 45-degree angle. This way, you wont be tempted to bite into your nails.

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    How A Nail Biting Habit Affects The Teeth

    NAIL BITING IS A HABIT shared by between a quarter and a third of children and nearly half of teenagers. Compulsive behaviors dont always have negative effects on a persons physical health, but this one definitely does. In addition to leaving the nails torn and uneven and doing damage to the nail beds, nail biting can lead to a variety of oral health complications.

    Make A Running List Of Urges

    Nail Biting Relapse: How To Break The Nail Biting Habit

    If you’re monitoring your nail-biting triggers in real-time, the next step you should take is physically keeping a list of how frequently you wish to bite your nails on a notepad . It sounds like a lot, we know, but doing so may break your habit by default, explains Meghan McMackin, Ph.D., a clinical postdoctoral fellow at Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists.

    “The act of self-monitoring can reduce the behavior in and of itself it’s difficult to write or type and bite your nails simultaneously,” McMackin explains. “Taking a moment to log your nail-biting requires you to break the rhythm of the nail-biting and reflect on the behavior. After doing so, many people are able to skip biting their nails in that specific moment, gradually targeting the habit.”

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    Use Technology To Your Advantage

    There is a suite of free mobile applications that are designed to help you stop nailbiting, including top-rated options like Quit That! and Nomo. Some applications are designed to be used with technology like smart watches to remind yourself not to bite your nails. A favorite for McMackin’s patients is the HabitAware bracelet, which is a device of it’s own that vibrates each time you raise your nails to your mouth.

    “Users train the bracelet to recognize motions that characterize the behavior they are attempting to reduce. Then, the bracelet alerts them when it detects that they are engaging in the identified behavior,” McMackin says. “Some people have found success with this method because it takes much of the work out of self-monitoring.”

    Keeping Your Hands And Mouth Busy

  • 1Find a habit to take the place of nail biting. Whenever you have the urge to bite, do that instead.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Academy of DermatologyProfessional organization made of over 20,000 certified dermatologistsGo to source Some people like to drum their fingers, twiddle their thumbs, clasp their hands, put their hands in their pockets, or just stare at their hands. Just make sure it’s not a bad habit choose a helpful one or one that doesn’t really matter either way.XResearch source

    Habits to Replace Nail-BitingPlay with a small object. Carry a rubber band, penny, or something else to hold in your hands to play within place of biting your nails.Distract your hands at key nail-biting times. Identify when you usually bite your nails, such as during car rides or when you’re sitting in class, and find a new way to replace the habit depending on where you are. If you’re in class, focus on writing extremely thorough notes. If you’re in the passenger seat of a car, fiddle with your keys.Mold silly putty or clay. Try keeping an “egg” of Silly Putty or a piece of clay with you. It is fun to play with and it occupies your hands during biting-prone times.Keep a coin in your pocket. Try keeping a coin in your pocket, and play with it when you feel the urge to bite your nails.

  • Chose a color you like so that you don’t peel it off.
  • Get a design. This will make you not want to peel off the polish if you like the design.
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