What’s your take on people who bite their fingernails? We know that it can be gross yet some people just can’t help it. I have to admit that I had that disorder for the longest time possible and well, many of my friends would criticize me for that. But I committed to stop biting nails and was able to grow them- thus, this article.
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WHAT IS NAIL BITING?
Nail-biting is a condition where one constantly places fingernails near the mouth, peels off the top layer of the skin above the nails, and bites the nails too.
Nail-biting is a habit and unfortunately, some people bite their nails to the point that they are not aware unless someone tells them to stop biting their nails.
WHY DO PEOPLE BITE THEIR NAILS?
Biting fingernails is a disorder known as onychophagia and while there is no known cause for biting nails, I’ve rounded up some of the causes I think caused my condition.
Anxiety is the most common cause of nail-biting. Anxiety causes stress, overthinking, and at times, anger.
When one is very busy trying to think about anything; could be due to stress or difficult works and assignments, it becomes highly likely to bite fingernails. I remember when I used to do some difficult assignments; I’d just find myself biting my nails terribly. They looked too gross you bet. Others would even ask me if they hurt but I’d reached a point where I could even assume the pain.
As well, whenever I got too impatient trying to look for something I misplaced, I’d get angry and the next second, I‘d be biting my nails to get rid of the anger.
Introverts, mentally and emotionally disturbed people can also develop the condition which is brought about by nervousness when amidst people or bad past memories.
2. Being idle.
Being idle also does more harm than good. For me, whenever I would get idle, I’d get the ‘work’ of biting my fingernails. Why? Being idle causes boredom thus this in-activeness could result in nail-biting.
HOW BITING FINGERNAILS CAN AFFECT YOU
Biting nails could cause bleeding at severe levels. One might even be unable to hold a pen.
Destroys the beauty of one’s nails. Mind you, I have very pretty nails when I’ve grown them but when I bite them, they’re the ugliest you’ll ever come across. How unfortunate!
Causes poor nail health. Some people bite around their cuticle thus destroying them. This makes it so hard to grow back fingernails at a normal rate since it will take even more than a week to grow your nails to a millimeter long.
Nail biters are susceptible to paronychia, a skin infection that occurs around one’s nails leading to swelling, redness, and pus around one’s nails. When severe, the condition can result in surgery.
Biting nails could cause stomach problems. One tends to feel some stomach pains after too much eating nails since nails might carry dirt, germs, and bacteria which cause stomach problems.
Nail-biting can also cause mental impairment due to tension and nervousness.
HOW TO AVOID & STOP BITING NAILS
1. Find the trigger and break free from it.
Endeavor to find out why you bite nails and as much as possible, work your way to free yourself from the issue.
Many are driven into biting nails by anxiety. I mean, we have seen many responding to anxiety by biting their nails so if this is you, learn to control your anxiety. I remember how I’d go nervous when before new faces and eventually, my hands could find their way into my mouth. So to avoid this, I always carried my key holder in my arms so that I could play around with it when I get nervous. One can also find other fidgeting tools to use like spinner rings.
Currently, I’m also using stress balls which are spongy-like balls that I squeeze whenever I feel anxious, nervous, or angry. Thus, I always keep them around.
2. Wear something on your nails.
Placing something like band-aids and nail extensions can block you from eating your nails. I know how fake nails can be tough so when I tend to bite them, I immediately realize that they aren’t my nails. Fake nails also are not as ‘sweet’ as your own nails.
As well, you can buy and apply an anti-nail biting polish which is bad-tasting nail polish on your nails. I assure you that it tastes very bad and the taste lingers in your mouth for quite some time. So with this on, you won’t want to bite your fingernails at all!
3. Always carry a nail cutter and a nail file.
At times, your nail can be hit thus prop out. If not cut out properly, you might decide to pick on it using the teeth. And what’s that? Nail-biting!
I always bring along my nail cutter so when I feel like biting my nails, I decide to just cut them. You can also just file them nicely. It really takes a lot of discipline though but basically, learn to keep your nails short and well-kept!
4. Avoid coming into contact with too much water.
Prolonged contact with water makes the nails soft thus easy to bite. Thus, wear a pair of gloves whenever you are cleaning up using water to keep the nails stronger.
5. Request for people’s help.
At times, one might not know that he or she is biting nails so let people around you tell you when you start biting them. That way, you’ll get more self-conscious and over time, you’ll forget about biting your nails.
6. Learn to get your mouth and hands busy.
It is just impossible to bite your nails when both your hands and mouth are engaged, right? So keep talking, do chores that require the use of your hands, play games and puzzles or even chew gum and eat sweets to ensure you stay active thus no time to bite your nails.
7. Eat healthily and drink plenty of water.
Plenty of nutrients in food can help your nails, taking them from dry and brittle to healthy and strong. Eat plenty of fruits and green vegetables as well as protein and nuts.
For example: to grow better nails, you must include a lot of iron in your diet because flaking and breaking of the nails easily is a sign of lack of iron in the body. Hence, fish and green leafy vegetables can be so helpful.
Read Also: What Your Nails Say About Your Health
8. Be disciplined and commit!
Above all, in order to stop biting nails, you must make that personal decision and commit to the process. Patience is also key because your nails might grow really slowly due to the deformation of the cuticle, in a way, and poor nail health in general.
When I’m so happy and everything is going on well, I even forget about biting my nails but as soon as something unpleasant or demanding crosses my path, then BYE BYE nails! But I’m seriously working on having a cheerful mood and growing my nails too.
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Anyway, do you also struggle with biting your fingernails? Or do you know of someone who does? What are the tips you use to get rid of the disorder?
Please share your thoughts with me below…