How to Stop Extreme Nail Biting?

Onychophagia or nail biting is a common habit among children and adults. It is just a way of coping with stress or comforting self.

To learn more, you can read: Stress And Adaptation

Nail-biting is a common habit. This habit is seen when a person is nervous or under stress. In addition, it may just be a habit. But it has many disadvantages related to health. This affects not only the average growth of nails, but also their shape becomes irregular.

Due to which the beauty of the hands also starts decreasing. If the nails are not kept adequately cleaned, the germs deposited in them become the cause of infection by going into the stomach through food.

is nail biting a sign of anxiety ?
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Table of Contents

Causes of nail-biting

Nail-biting usually starts in childhood and can happen sometime during adolescence as well. Sometimes, it’s not clear why someone develops this habit, but it cannot be easy to manage it once it starts. A child may bite nails for several reasons:

    • Out of curiosity or boredom
    • To relieve stress or anxiety
    • Because of habit
    • Lack of confidence
    • Because of nervousness
    • Feeling shy
    • Fear or jitteriness due to horror scenes or family environment
    • Feeling of insecurity
    • Tiredness
    • Nagging

Some psychological or emotional problems:

The habit of biting nails can also lead to mental health conditions such as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Must read: Is Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety A Mental Illness? 

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Side effects of nail-biting

  • Fungal infection
  • Harm to teeth
  • Harm to teeth such as misalignment, chipping, and dental resorption
  • Abnormal-looking nails

Habits like swallowing bitten nails can increase the risk of intestinal and stomach infections.

How to stop extreme nail biting?

To get rid of the habit of nail-biting, you have to make changes in yourself. Habits are never formed overnight, so it may take patience and time to break them. If your first step is not reducing your nail-biting, then adopt another technique.

There are some tips that you can try to stop nail biting:

    • Cover your nails
    • Coat nails with bitter polish
    • Trim or manicure your nails often
    • Replace the habit

I also wrote a tutorial on Grinding Teeth In Sleep: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment that you can follow.


For a long time, nail-biting is a harmless problem that does not require any medical care. But sometimes, biting nails can lead to dental problems and other problems that need to be treated.

Let’s know about some tips to help you get rid of nail biting. Finding a job can be helpful, but it is not easy. If you’ve tried and still can’t break the pattern, CBT is an effective tool for changing behavior patterns.

Here are couple of articles, which you should definitely read to learn…

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