Nail Biting Causes and Solutions

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Nail Biting Causes and Solutions

Nail biting is a compulsive behavior caused by stress, tension, or anxiety. This behavior can show up through when a person does not appear to be experiencing any type of pressure. The act of biting the nail, or around the cuticle is seen when the child or adult is bored, or needing to sit still for long periods of time. The underlining cause however remains the same. Stress is the major component of the problem.

Starting with the core problem, stress management techniques can help relieve the pressure the person is experiencing. Learning to discuss, and recognize those feelings eliminates some of the desire to perform this habit. Substituting another action to relieve stress also works in many cases. Silly putty can be worked against the palm when feeling stressed out, or squeezing a rubber ball is a great reliever of tension.

An effective method of substitution for men and young boys is a rubber band around the wrist. Some people snap the band against the wrist, but it can also be manipulated and twisted around to distract from the nail-biting urge.

Keeping the nails trimmed and neatly filed, not only encourages the nail biter to keep the nails looking nice. It also keeps the person from absently trying to fix an imperfection by chewing on the nail. For an adult having a manicure is helpful too, since among other reasons this toughens the nail, and makes gnawing more difficult.

Keeping a nail file handy is another method of relief. While some people find the habit of filing the nails frequently annoying, it is nothing compared to action of biting the nail. For a younger girl brightly colored nail boards or nail stickers can help curb the desire to bite the nail.

The reason these methods work is the action they are controlling is based on the very reasons that nail biting begins as a habit in the first place. While it might sound strange, the habit starts up as method to sooth the self. The act of nail biting, even through the person doing it might not notice they are doing it, has a calming effect on the nervous system. The nail biting as an action reduces the levels of stress the person is feeling at the time.

The action of nail biting is also stimulation. When a person, who is feeling stressed out through the day is sitting for a long periods as with a classroom situation, or long meeting at work the nail biting becomes a method of stimulation. At this point, the biting is keeping the person awake and alert. When biting the nails for stimulation, the individual’s mind is actually on the teacher, or a presentation. He or she isn’t actually thinking about what is happening to the nails.

Another part of nail biting is a fixation with the nail. The nail becomes a focus at several points throughout the day and the nail biter looks for small problems or imperfections in the nail and chews or picks at this spot hoping to fix the problem.

Natural stress relieves that adults can take to relieve stress such B-vitamin inositol, sometimes work to relieve the habit of nail biting. This vitamin works to enhance the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a brain transmitter that lifts the mood, and makes handling tension easier.

If no other remedies work there is medication used to treat truly obsessive nail biting. These medications are the same as prescribed for OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Most of the time through people find more relieve through addressing the problem of stress and working to find ways to deal with tension, and pre-occupation with the nails.

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