There was a man who couldn't seem to stop biting his nails, so he went to see a psychiatrist for some help.
After explaining his problem, the doctor told him that nail biting was a common complaint, but it really didn't cause any harm.
"That's what you think, doc," said the man. "I'm a carpenter!"
Nail Biting History
Quick TipThere are lots of ways to discourage nail biting. Here are some of the most interesting tricks that I have come across. They range from the most obvious, to the most unusual.
In the early sixties, it was quite common for parents to bribe their children to stop. A lowly sum of 25 cents a week was quite popular.
*A Little Pain:
Keeping a elastic band around the wrist was another trick that was popular. Every time you find you find yourself nibbling... you snap it. As an recovered nail biter, I don't think I like this one.
*A Tennis Ball:
Keeping the hands occupied was another trick that often worked. It seems that if the hands had something to do, the nails were left alone.
*Paint Them Nasty:
There are products still on the market that you paint onto the nails and the nasty taste is supposed to make you quit.
This actually makes sense. If you are busy chewing gum, you are less likely to nibble.
*Keeping Them Polished:
It seems that nails that have been groomed will slow down the urge to bite. It might have something to do with the sudden improvement in the appearance of the nails.
Probable Reasons For Biting
This is a common cause especially in teens. The stress if school and the statis of their social life can usually be blamed.
This can affect any age group. You find yourself with nothing to do and before you know it, you start nibbling.
This reason is the likely cause for young children. They have gone through the pacifier stage or thumb sucking stage and have progressed to the nails.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nail biting is the habit of biting one's fingernails or toenails during periods of nervousness, stress or boredom. It can also be a sign of mental or emotional disorder, but is commonly seen in intellectuals. The clinical name for nail biting is chronic onychophagia.
It occurs in:
- 28% to 33% of children ages 7-10 years old,
- 44% of adolescents,
- 19% to 29% of young adults and
- 5% of older adults
- It is more common in boys
Biting the nails can result in the transportation of germs that are buried under the surface of the nail into the mouth. In fact, nail salons use tools that potentially affect a human in a similar way. “If they (nail tools such as files) are used on different people, these tools may spread nail fungi, staph bacteria or viruses,” warns Rick Lopes, a spokesperson for the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. In fact, over 100 bacterial skin infections in 2000 were traced to footbaths in nail salons. Thus, one can see that many pathogens have the ability to "live" inside of a nail, and because of this biting the nails can potentially cause health issues.
Breaking the habit
Various forms of aversion therapy exist to help people stop biting their nails. These include methods such as coating the nails with a bad-tasting substance (sometimes in the form of a special nail polish) or wearing a rubber band on their wrist and having friends and family members snap it (or tell the nailbiter to snap it) when they see nailbiting. Some methods (including aforementioned aversion methods) can work by making the biter aware of their actions and finding other things to do. Keeping a record of when one bites may also be helpful in finding the root of the problem.
Some nail biters who undergo orthodontic treatment find that wearing a retainer or a bite plate makes it impossible for them to sever their nails with their teeth. This can have the unintentional side-effect of helping the individual to overcome their nail-biting habit.
Some nailbiters may try hypnotherapy if other methods fail.
Some nail-biters, however, find the effectivness of these remedies to be poor. For them, it may take sheer determination to break the habit. Tactics they may find helpful include making a mental note to stop, promising oneself not to bite, and making it a New Year's resolution to stop.
Like other nervous habits, nail biting is sometimes a symptom of an emotional problem. In these cases, resolving the underlying problem can help to lessen or eliminate the nail-biting habit.
- Nail biting is, according to Freudian theory, a symptom of oral fixation.
- It is considered to be a mildly embarrassing habit in some cultures.
- It does not break the taboo of cannibalism against eating parts of the human body, as the nails are not usually consumed.