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How To Stop Nail Biting

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Nail biting (also known as onychophagy) is the most common of the “nervous” habits. Most nail biters don’t realize they are even doing it, making it a difficult habit to break. Stress, anxiety, boredom and a need for comfort are reasons for the habit, but in some cases it can be connected to an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Negative Effects from Nail Biting
Nail biting is a habit that begins in children at a young age, yet sticks with them as they mature into adults. Thirty percent of children, 44% of adolescents and 29% of adults find themselves consumed by this habit, although most adults stop biting their nails around 30 years old. Along with chewing on the actual fingernail, the cuticles and skin surrounding the nail are often affected as well. Negative effects from nail biting can range from cuticle bleeding, sore fingertips, infections in the nails and mouth, and in some cases, nail deformation and dental problems. Germs are easily transferred from the hands to the mouth by constantly nibbling on fingers, allowing fungal infections, viral infections and other illnesses to be easily developed or caught.

Break the Habit
Nail biting is a habit important to break. The gross, broken and shredded way nails look after they’ve been bitten is bad enough but the germs, infections and long-term affects make it a necessity to stop the biting. Most people who bite their nails hate that they do it, yet don’t know how to stop. Dedication, determination and the desire for change are the most important factors for a positive outcome, as well as trying one or more of these steps:

  1. Keep your fingernails well groomed. Nice looking fingernails, without hang nails, rough spots or chipped polish are a definite deterrent. Few biters want to ruin something nice. Treat yourself to a salon manicure or try giving yourself the perfect home manicure.
  2. Use a topical treatment. A nail polish or cream, which can have a bitter or spicy flavor, can help to deter from putting fingers in the mouth. Many topical treatments, which can be found at a drugstore, also add needed nutrients to the nails to help with nail recovery and growth. Two well-known products are Control-It and Thum.
  3. Get to the root of the problem. Who do you personally bite your nails? Once you determine the reason, you may be able to stop it before the urge to bite your nails starts.
    • Is it boredom? Find a hobby that keeps your hands and mind active. Maybe knitting, cooking or scrapbooking will be your thing. A physical activity might be your savior or volunteering is a great option. Get out there and get busy.
    • Is stress the problem? Purchase a cheap stress ball to squeeze whenever you feel like munching on your nails. Learn a breathing technique, do yoga or find a trusted friend to talk to. Internally holding in problems can lead to pent-up frustration and eventually a bad habit. Learning to relieve stress could help stop the nail biting.
    • Are you nervous? Do you start chomping your nails as you wait in the dentist office? Are you nervous about a deadline, a bill or where your career is headed? Nail biting is known as a “nervous habit” and is the reason many find themselves stuck with the addiction. The brain looks for a way to self-soothe when over stimulated and a nervous habit such as nail biting can help calm these internal sensors. Consider another way to deal with anxiety and how to keep yourself distracted from your nails when a situation presents itself.
  4. Talk to your doctor about medication. In rare cases, nail biting can be a symptom of something more serious. Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders are two reasons doctors prescribe medication for nail biting. If you think these are possible reasons for your nail biting, speak to a doctor.
  5. Keep your mouth busy. Distract your mouth with another activity. Chew gum, chomp on a low-fat healthy snack such as carrots or nuts. It may take your mouth some time to get used to your new way of life, so be prepared.
  6. Educate yourself! Knowing the consequences and seeing images of possible fingernail and mouth damage can scare a nail biter into change. If knowing about the constantly ragged fingernails isn’t enough to kick the dirty habit, learning about the more serious consequences such as infection and illness may be. Reading up on the success of others or the steps they have taken can also help stop nail biting.
Whether you are a longtime nail biter or an occasional partaker, nail biting is a habit that is difficult to break. Accepting the habit as a problem, understanding why and when you bite and making a decision to stop, are all major factors in ending the battle. While determination and dedication are the most important players, multiple steps must be taken to see successful results.
Source: http://first-date.howtodothings.com/how-to-stop-nail-biting.html

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