It can also be a behaviour that you learn from other members of your family. Nail-biting is the most common of the so called “nervous habits,” others include thumb sucking and hair twiddling and teeth grinding too.
It is possible to bite your nails without knowing you are doing it. You might be involved in another activity, such as surfing on the net, watching TV, or talking on your cell, and still bite your nails without thinking about it.
Nail-biting includes biting the cuticle and soft tissue which is around the nail as well as biting the nail itself.
So just who bites their nails?
People of all ages bite their nails.
·About half of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 bite their nails at one time or another.
·Nail-biting occurs most often as teenagers go through their hormonal changes.
·Some young adults, ages 19 to 25 years, bite their nails.
·Only a small number of other adults bite their nails. Most people stop biting their nails by the time they reach 30.
·Boys bite their nails more often than girls particularly after age 12
Nail-biting happens along with other body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB) such as hair-pulling or skin-biting.
What treatments are available for nail-biting?
Several treatment measures may help you stop biting your nails. There are those that concentrate on behaviour and/ or physical barriers.
·Keep your nails trimmed and filed. Take care of your nails, it will help to reduce your nail-biting habit and encourage you to keep your nails looking good.
·Have a manicure or use nail polish and do so often. Men, use a clear polish. Wearing artificial nails may stop you from biting your nails and protect them as they grow out.
·Try stress relieving techniques if you bite your nails because you are anxious or stressed.
·Paint a foul tasting polish, the awful taste will remind you to stop each time you start to bite your nails.
·Try substituting another activity, such as drawing or writing or juggling a stress ball when you feel the urge to bite. If you keep a record of nail-biting, you will become more aware of the times when you bite your nails and be able to stop the habit.
·Wear gloves, plasters, or band aids, or coloured stickers whenever possible to remind you not to bite your nails.
·Snap an elastic band on the inside of your wrist when you start to bite your nails so you have a painful reminder to nail-biting.