Onychophagia: Stop biting your nails!
If you have the habit of biting your nails, you must stop… right now! It is a nasty habit that not only is hurting your self-esteem is also putting you at great health risk. This condition is called Onychophagia, known as the habit of nail biting, it is a very common disorder caused by anxiety, stress, and the obsessive behavior. This disorder is heightened in moments of personal crisis, hence the stereotypical image of a person under a great stress biting their nails.
The main issue with having the habit of biting your nails is that it not only affects you on a psychological level, it can also have considerable repercussions on your physical health. This habit inhibits the person, makes them feel ashamed, and it undermines their self-esteem. But more than that, it can do some serious irreparable damage to the fingernail, as well as cause for some infections in the fingers and mouth. Not to mention that your teeth might also have some damages by constantly biting hard nails.
Furthermore, there are more serious scenarios if the habits are more intense. When a person with Onychophagia is biting deep in the nail, there is a high risk that it will not grow with time, but what's really serious is that it can generate hemorrhages and may even be some open wounds in addition to being disfigured fingers irrecoverably. Also people who bite their nails, also tend to bite their cuticle (the live tissue between the skin and the nails), this can create a high risk of hazardous bacteria to create fungal infections that could bring serious complications. In addition to the fact that our hands are in constant contact with different surfaces, and by constantly sticking our fingers in our mouths we can very well put our entire body at risk of catching a myriad of diseases. To put it in crystal clear terms, people who stop biting their nails get sick less, and that’s a proven fact.
There is a whole range of different type of disease you can get because you are biting your nails. If you don’t have proper hand hygiene and you bite your nails, you will be exposed to a common cold, an upset stomach, diarrhea, or even a gastrointestinal infection. You will put your digestive system at risk of being exposed to E.coli and Salmonella, two hazardous bacteria that can cause damage to your stomach and intestines. What is worse is that, it is just the beginning.
People who continue to bite their nails well into adulthood are also at a very high risk of developing a disease called paronychia. If you are a nail bitter, you might already have it. It causes tears and abrasions in your fingers. It leaves open and exposed wound on your fingers that, if they are not properly cared for, they could develop infections that could potentially cost you your fingers in extreme scenarios.
So, what can you do? First of all, you must realize that if you are suffering from this disorder, very likely is related to an anxiety and stress management condition. Seek counseling, for starters and try to find a way to be able to manage that stress and not let it get the best of you. Besides being the cause of you biting your nails, it can be a precursor of many other health conditions that you might not be aware of them right now. Learning to cope and stop anxiety and stress will improve your quality of live tenfold.
Make a conscious effort to stop biting your nails, if you don’t like what it does to your fingers, then stop! You have the power to do so! You and only you are responsible for how your fingers are looking. Think about that the next time that you put them anywhere near your mouth. If you feel ashamed of how your hands and fingers look, use that emotion to make a conscious effort to stop. Identify the moments of your daily routing where you bite your nails, at work, watching TV, etc. that why you will be more aware of the moments where you are feeling more anxious. When you are able to control the urges, in a matter of a couple of days you will notice a change, and when that happens, acknowledge the fact that you were able to stop. There is no medication or special treatment to beat Onychophagia, the power to stop is within you!