Nail Biting: Everything You Need to Know (Including How to Stop)

Nail Biting: Everything You Need to Know (Including How to Stop)

Nail biting is a fairly common habit amongst all age ranges – not just kids! Most people who bite their nails would like to stop, but stopping isn’t quite that simple.

In order to stop biting your nails, you need a little bit of understanding about the condition.

Just telling yourself to stop won’t work, and it’s not the kind of habit that goes away overnight. In fact, all habits can be difficult to shake. Forming a habit takes a while, so it makes sense that losing a habit also takes time.

Below are some things you need to know if you truly want to stop biting your nails. These are the answers to the most common questions around nail biting.

What causes you to bite your nails?

There are many reasons a person might bite their nails, but children of nail biters are more likely to bite their own nails. This can mean nail biting is genetic, but there is also evidence that it’s a learned behaviour.

The root of nail biting seems to be linked with a few mental health conditions. Anxiety and stress can contribute to an increase in nail biting. This can mean even after someone has broken the habit, if they’re exposed to lots of stress, they might bite their nails again.

Because nail biting is a repetitive motion, it has also been considered ‘stimming’ in more recent years. Stimming gets its name from shortening ‘self-stimulating behaviour’, which is more often seen in people with autism or ADHD (although most people will use stimming to some degree).

People find repetitive behaviours like nail biting to be soothing, which seems to be why it’s so closely related to stress and anxiety. 

If a person is experiencing stress and/or anxiety, it’s likely they’ll be looking for ways to soothe themselves.

What is the medical term for nail for nail biting?

The medical term for nail biting is Onychophagia. 

Lots of people bit their nails, but it doesn’t become a medical issue unless it causes a lot of pain or distress. For most people, nail biting is more of an annoyance than a serious issue.

Is it easy to stop biting nails?

Nail biting, like all habits, can be broken if you put in the work. The trouble with habits is that you need to consistently work on breaking them in order for it to stick.

Although it’s not easy to stop biting your nails, it should be relatively straightforward if you keep working on it.

There are a few methods for stopping biting your nails, so you might have to try a few before you decide on what works best for you.

Is nail biting an addiction?

Nail biting can be classed as a type of OCD, meaning it would be considered a compulsion rather than an addiction. The pull of feeling as though you need to do it, might feel very similar to addiction.

Is biting nails anxiety?

Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, and unfortunately, nail biting is one of them. This doesn’t mean that all nail biting is due to anxiety, buy it’s worth noting that anxiety can be linked to nail biting.

How fast do nails grow?

Studies suggest that nails can grow 0.5 – 1.2mm per week, but certain factors will affect that. For example, if your nails are brittle, the growth might be present, but you may struggle to notice it if your nails crack and flake away. 

Things like vitamin deficiencies or poor diet can also contribute to slow nail growth.

Can nail biting cause long-term damage?

While it’s quite rare, nail biting can cause long-term damage in a few cases. 

The most common problems arising from nail biting involve increased infections in the skin around the nail and the stomach. These issues usually go away once the nail biting has stopped.

A long-term issue can be caused when nail biting causes damage to teeth. Chipped teeth and worn enamel may need treating by a dentist.

Will I ever be able to stop biting my nails?

Nail biting is one of the easier habits to break. While most people can stop biting their nails on their own, a few people need external support too. 

If you’re willing to put the work in, it’s likely you’ll be able to stop biting your nails.

How can I stop biting my nails?

How to stop biting nails? Lets see the answer of this question:

Stopping nail biting is something that varies from person to person. What works for one person, might not work for someone else.

One method is to get some nail biting treatment. You paint it onto your nails like regular polish, but it’s designed to taste terrible. Most of these formulas taste extremely bitter, helping to discourage you putting your hand to your mouth.

Another method is to have a professional manicurist apply nail extensions. Nail extensions are hard and strong, meaning you’ll struggle to nibble away at them like you would your natural nails. Also, it would totally ruin the look of the manicure if your nails were all half chewed.

Some people who have managed to stop the habit during the daytime try to sleep in cotton gloves to avoid nail biting at night

Alongside the physical ways of trying to stop nail biting, you’ll need to do some mental work too.

The first thing you need to investigate is to whether there are any triggers that make you bite your nails. If you can identify triggers, it will help if you are able to either avoid or resolve them, which in turn will help you not bite your nails.

If it’s a habit you do absent-mindedly, it’s time to look for something else to do with your hands. You could invest in some fidget toys to keep those hands away from your mouth, or if you’re after a challenge, take up knitting. Anything that keeps your hands busy, and you distracted should help.

Therapy might help you stop biting your nails if you find yourself struggling with it more than you expected.

How can I grow my nails after biting them?

Once you’ve stopped biting your nails, it’s time to let them grow back. They don’t need to get super long (although that might be exactly what you want), but you need them to be a comfortable length. After years of nail biting, very short nails and sore fingertips will go hand in hand.

Even if you want short, neat nails, some regrowth will need to occur.

Proper hand care will help your nails grow back. This means that hands should be kept clean and moisturised at all times. Rubbing oil into your cuticles can do wonders for growing healthy nails, as can maintaining a balanced diet.

Patience is important when it comes to growing out your nails after biting them. It can take a while for strong and healthy nails to grow through. 

Once you’ve stopped biting your nails and have started to see some regrowth, it’s lovely idea to celebrate all your hard work with a manicure.

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