Nail biting: the causes and cures that can break the habit

Cures worth trying

Most children eventually grow out of their habit of biting their nails but there are techniques that can help break this persisting problem;

  • Painting the nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish often discourages people from biting them
  • Keeping nails trimmed short gives less nail to bite on
  • Use stress-reducing tips to try to manage stress and anxiety. Common examples used include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or squeezing a stress ball
  • Put a rubber band around the wrist and snap it whenever there is an urge to bite your nails.

If these techniques do not work, talk to your doctor or mental health professional especially if fingernail biting causes anxiety and stress. They will be able to assess if there is a more serious problem present such as generalised anxiety disorder or OCD that may require treatment with counselling or medication.


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