Do you bite your nails often? Do you find it difficult to stop? Then welcome to the club. Nail biting is common among children although adults are not exempted from this nervous habit. Famous nail biters include Britney Spears, Eva Mendez, Lisa Marie Presley, and Elijah Wood.
Nail biting or ...Do you bite your nails often? Do you find it difficult to stop? Then welcome to the club. Nail biting is common among children although adults are not exempted from this nervous habit. Famous nail biters include Britney Spears, Eva Mendez, Lisa Marie Presley, and Elijah Wood.
Nail biting or chronic onychophagia is the act of biting the cuticle, the soft tissue around the nail or the nail itself. It occurs in 28 to 33 percent of children ages 7-10 years old, 44 percent of adolescents, 19 to 29 percent of young adults, and five percent of older adults, according to Terry M. McClanahan in his study titled “Operant Learning Principles Applied to Nail Biting.”
Another study says it is common in 45 – 60 percent of children aged eight to 11 and tends to peak between the ages of 10 and 18.
This irritating habit is more common in boys than girls, and can be seen during periods of nervousness, stress, hunger, boredom or lack of activities. In some cases, it can be a sign of a mental or emotional disorder.
Most of the time, it is harmless habit that children eventually outgrow. In both children and adults, however, nail biting usually occurs unconsciously when the person is doing something else like reading a book or watching TV.
“Nail biting is often considered to be a common reaction to stress. A child or even an adult uses nail biting as a coping mechanism to relieve pent-up emotions. Dr. Ronald Bronow, a dermatologist in private practice and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, says nail biting is a habitual condition, a common reaction to stress and boredom. Nail biters could also suffer from a poor self-image or could be punishing themselves for deeper-rooted problems or anxieties. Basically, nail biting is a rational substitution of one problem for another. In many instances nail biting is used as a tension reliever. Any kind of disharmony as a result of friends, family, work or school can trigger the habit,” explained Onychophagia.com.
“It has been documented that some people bite their nails in their sleep, sometimes exclusively. This has been linked to stress while dreaming or stress from the dream or simply stress in general. It is considered the most widespread form of mild self mutilation,” according to Wikipedia.
Apart from being unsanitary, nail biting has its own share of adverse effects. Nail biting can easily carry bacteria and other germs from the nails to the mouth. Broken skin can also be susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.
“Where a nail has been bitten too far in, bleeding might occur at the grooves or cuticles. More extremely the constant wetting of the finger can lead to yeast infection of the nail and oral herpes can actually begin to grow on the finger. Ridging, nail deformity and even nail loss can happen. Bacterial infections can lead to severe dental problems such as gingivitis,” said Onychophagia.com.
The first step in stopping this habit is to identify what’s causing it and resolving whatever problems you have. To stop fungal infections arising from nail biting, use Somasin AFS. This powerful herbal formula strengthens the immune system and stops stubborn nail infections in just seven days. Visit http://tinyurl.com/8jkw6ma for more information.
Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com.