Onychophagia: everything you need to know about this mania for biting your nails
Many are those who, faced with stress, anxiety or boredom, bite their nails or tear off small skins… Find out everything you need to know about this bad habit that you can get rid of, provided you want!
Onychophagia, which refers to nail biting, affects many people, both men and women. It is not a “disease”, but an obsessive compulsive disorder. This ocd appears most of the time around the age of 2 years, often by mimicry. Onychophagia generally manifests itself under the effect of stress, an anxious state.
Biting your nails: consequences on the body and the mind
The damage associated with onychophagia are numerous.
They can be physical: Destruction of the nails, which eventually shorten from being bitten, appearance of streaks on the nails. The multiple traumas and micro-injuries around the nail can also increase the risk of bacteria or viral infections.
The damage can also be social: we tend to hide our hands, the state of our nails reflects our psychological state, we are ashamed of it and we lose self-confidence.
Solutions exist to stop biting your nails
The first step to getting rid of this OCD is to become aware of it. Start by identifying the moments when you bite your nails, identify the triggering factors: if it is when you are stressed at work, when you are anxious at the approach of an event, or if it is more when you’re bored…
To get rid of it, you not only have to become aware of this bad habit, but you also have to be determined and want to free yourself from it.
- a bitter varnish can help to become aware of the times when one tends to bite one’s nails.
- if the varnish doesn’t work, you can choose to put a small piece of plaster, or a discreet bandage on the nails.
- we try to occupy our hands if we bite our nails when we are bored, or we offer manual activities to occupy the hands of children.
- often linked to stress, this ocd can disappear by practicing relaxation. You can find the method: sophrology, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation physiotherapy…
- cognitive-behavioral therapies can be a good way to get rid of this bad habit.
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Read also: Damaged nails, is it serious?