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Thread: Nail Biting

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    Question Nail Biting

    Do you bite your nails? Nail biting seems to be a difficult behaviour to change and sometimes begins in childhood. The clinical name for nail biting is chronic onychophagia.

    Does the need to bite nails seem to be greater in certain situations of stress or boredom?

    Have you had any success in quitting?

    What strategies have you found to work for you? What doesn't work and should be avoided?

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I am a big time nail biter. Definitely stress and tension make it worse, but so does sheer boredom. I used to quit for about six months every two years, just by applying nailpolish. However, I found that as soon as one broke, it hurt, and I didn't like the look/feeling of one being shorter than the rest, so off the rest would come. I find I can't do nearly as much with my fingers (typing, etc) when my nails are long. I do prefer them short, as ugly and embarrassing as they are. Thankfully I work in a job that doesn't require me to be polished - the dogs don't care what I look like, so it's good. I wouldn't work in a job where people would notice my fingers alot...

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I'm not a nail-biter, but I wonder if carrying a nail clipper in your pocket and encouraging yourself to use the clipper instead of your teeth might help.

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I wonder if carrying a nail clipper in your pocket and encouraging yourself to use the clipper instead of your teeth might help
    Perhaps, although nail biting doesn't seem to be a concious act, but rather an unconcious habit. I am not sure if a person who bites their nails is doing it instead of using a nail clipper as a manicure tool, but rather as some form of response to stress.

    Perhaps identifying the source of the stress and then figuring out a way of breaking the habit might work.

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    Re: Nail Biting

    Nope a nail clipper wouldn't help me, and I actually have problems with seeing other people use them - it makes me gag. For me, it's an outlet for nervous/negative energy...I need to bite, I don't just "need" short nails.

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I have been a nail biter for as long as I can remember and for me stress and boredom both contribute to my nail biting as well as the need for shorter nails due to typing all day.

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I use to be a nail biter but found wearing nail varnish stopped me, i started wearing bright colours yellows, blues, bright pink, purple and bright greens, which made me notice my nails more, and also if i picked or bit with the polish on they would look a mess, and i would have to repaint them, just made me more aware of my nails, the only thing i do now if im really stressed is nibble the nail on my thumbs, but I have to stop myself or else my hands look odd with long finger nails and short thumb nails, I use to pick my toenails too but have stopped that completely with the nail varnish again

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    Re: Nail Biting

    I am a nail biter, always have been. I don't do it as much now, but I still do it - then feel quilty for doing it. I don't really know why, just that I 'have' to. It's like an urge, an impulse. I can't do anything else until I bit my nails.

    I have nail clippers, but I don't always use it. It's the biting part that I need, not the cutting/trimming.

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    Smile Re: Nail Biting

    Have you ever tried a product called "New Skin" sold in drug stores, Walmart etc. It's sold as a liquid bandage, but works really well for helping suppress nail biting.

    A lot of nail biting seems to be triggered by unevenness in the mail or in the cuticle...that manifest themselves as "catches" that hook on to clothing or the adjacent fingers.

    The liquid bandage product is a lacquer base that can be applied over the catch, or indeed over any torn section of nail or cuticle.

    The covering tends to reduce the sensitivity or the awareness of the "catch" and seems to reduce the chances of biting.

    Are there medication treatments that can help reduce the stress level of a nail biter as well?

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