THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND NAIL BITING
- NAIL BITING BASICS -
Nail biting is usually described as a common stress-relieving habit.
The habit of biting one's fingernails or toenails occurs especially during periods of nervousness, stress or boredom.
Nail biting can also be a sign of mental or emotional disorder.
The clinical name for nail biting is 'chronic onychophagia'.
In a clinical setting the habit is often described as an act of self-mutilation.
Nail biting is more common in boys.
Nail biting occurs in all ages. Read more about the causes, treatment & prevention for various age groups:
Nail Biting in Toddlers - occurs in over 50% of toddlers
Nail Biting in Children - occurs in 28% to 33% of children ages 7-10
Nail Biting in Adolescents - occurs in 44% of adolescents
Nail Biting in Adults - 19% to 29% of young adults, 5% of older adults.
- NAIL BITING HYGIENE -
Biting the nails can result in the transportation of germs that are buried under the surface of the nail into the mouth.
So, nail biting is definitely not a good sign in the perspective of hand hygiene!
In fact, nail salons use tools that potentially affect a human in a similar way.
Nail biting also has the negative side effect of restraining the use of the hands. A compulsive nailbiter can be restricted in their ability to work (i.e. writing, typing, drawing, driving) because their hand is in their mouth.
A long-time habit of nailbiting may have detrimental effects on the substantia adamantinea of the front teeth, promoting caries in these areas.
What you should remember is this: A Kiss is healthier than a Handshake!
- TREATMENT & REMEDIES -
BEHAVIORAL THERAPY: Some patients have found behavioral therapy to be beneficial on its own or as a complement to medication.
The first part of nail biting therapy consists of Habit Reversal Training (HRT), a four part process that seeks to "unlearn" the habit of nail biting and possibly replace it with a more constructive habit.
In addition to HRT, stimulus control therapy is used to both identify and then eliminate the stimulus that frequently triggers biting urges. One might also use a mouthpiece to prevent the bite.
Nail Biting Hypnotherapy
Nail Biting Psychology
Nail biting has been shown to respond well to certain types of medication.
The medications used to treat the problem include the newest, most potent anti-depressants. These medications are also used to treat Trichotillomania and OCD and include clomipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram, escitalopram, nefazodone and venlafaxine. Also, small amounts of the anti-psychotics used to treat schizophrenia such as risperidone, olazapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole can be used to augment anti-depressants. It is important to note that the use of anti-psychotics to treat nail biting does not necessarily indicate that the patient is suffering from psychosis.
Nail Biting Remedies
Nail Biting Treatment
AWFUL-TASTING NAIL POLISH:
Available at most drugstores, this special clear nail polish can be applied to the nails. When the nail biter tries to chew their nails, it releases a bitter flavor, thus repelling the person to do so again. This treatment is one of the most common as it is available without a presciption, and it is available everywhere.
Fingernail Biting Habit
Stop Biting Nails
* The 'NAIL ENCYCLOPEDIA' is a branch of Medical Handanalysis.
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