Most people have a habit of biting their nails. They often do it in stressful situations or when they are anxious or nervous. In medical terms, recurrent nail-biting behaviour is known as onychophagia, which also requires medical attention on reaching an extreme level. Many kids and teens often develop the habit of biting their nails which sometimes can continue till adulthood. Besides stress, anxiousness and nervousness, some other reasons why people bite nails are as follows:
In certain situations, biting nails is merely an absentminded moment rather than a deliberate choice when they are intensely trying to concentrate on something.
Impatience, frustration, or boredom:
Once people pick up the habit of biting their nails, it is hard to stop. It becomes regular behaviour for people. For example, when they are frustrated, waiting for someone, etc, they bite their nails to keep themselves occupied.
Emotional or psychological problems:
Sometimes nail biting, for some people, is more than merely a habit. It can also be associated with several mental health conditions such as depression, tourette syndrome or separation anxiety disorder, as per experts.
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Should you be concerned?
Although medical intervention is unnecessary for mild nail biting, however, if you are experiencing the issues listed below, you must consult a doctor.
- Skin or nail infection
- Ingrown nails
- Nail discolouration
- Curled nails
- Bleeding around nails
- Nails separating from surrounding skin
- Thinning or thickening of the nails
- Nails that have stopped growing
- Swelling or pain around the nails.
If you are looking for ways to avoid biting your nails, then follow the steps below:
- Find an alternative for nail-biting. Whenever you find yourself in this situation, start playing with a stress ball or anything else that you think will be helpful.
- Identify what triggers you. By doing so, you will be able to establish a plan to prevent it.
- Ensure to chop your nails often.