Millions of people are suffering from onychophagy, or they are biting their nails. The one worse than the other but the result remains the same, namely chewed nails, broken cuticles and sometimes deformed fingertips. And a big dent in your self-confidence! Nail biting is not tied to age and it does not matter if you are male or female. Often the nail-biting start at toddler age and it automatically stops by the time you are an adult. Some adults have not been able to learn the nail-biting and still do it.
Why are You Nailing?
Research has shown that there are several reasons why people start nailing:
If a child stops sucking, it may need a different habit. This can lead to nail-biting.
Boredom. It starts at unnoticed. If you have nothing to do for a moment, go nail-biting. This often happens when you are deep in thought, reading or watching the TV.
If you are nervous or in an anxious or stressful situation, nail biting can give you a sense of distraction. If you take this a few times, you will automatically start biting again in these situations.
The children imitate an adult. If children see that their parents are biting, they will be more inclined to replicate this.
Why Stop Nail Biting?
If your nail bites do not just walk around with ugly hands, it also often has a negative influence on your self-confidence. In addition, many people who have nail-biting suffer from dental abnormalities or infections in the mouth. On your hands and under your nails are many bacteria that can cause mouth problems. In people who swallow their bitten nails, it can eventually lead to (serious) stomach problems.
WHY IS IT DIFFICULT TO STOP NAIL BITING?
Nail biting is a habit and like smoking, it is very difficult to stop habits. You will, therefore, have to be very strong in your shoes to stop nail biting, after all, you always have your nails with you. That is why it is very important that you really want to stop nail biting yourself. If that is not the case, your stop attempt will fail.
How to Stop Nail Biting?
Change habits. The moment you want to nail-bitten you have to do something else with your hands. You can literally go thumb-turn but you can also put them in your pocket. Find something that you can do with your hands so you can not go nail biting.
Use a tool. There are means for sale against nail biting or thumb sucking that gives your nails a bad taste. It is not only the bad taste that keeps you from getting nail-bitten, but the bad taste can also cause awareness so that you no longer go unnoticed.
If you paint your nails or provide a transparent gel coat then the structure and taste of your nail changes. You provide awareness and you simultaneously strengthen your nails.
Keep the nails short so that there is no temptation to bite.
Give a reward to your child or yourself if your nails have grown and you have not bitten.
Start taking care of your nails as soon as you have stopped. Beautiful nails give your self-confidence a boost and if you have spent time and money on it, it’s a shame to bite them off again.
If you have been biting your nails for a long time, you might not be able to save it alone and a behavioral therapist can help. A behavioral therapist can give you insight into why you are having a nail bite and can accompany you when you stop.