There have been countless times that I have tried to stop biting my nails yet I can never seem to completely drop the habit. No matter how many times I paint my nails or get fake nails put on to restrain myself from biting my real nails I always find myself biting my nails at various points in time. It seems that there is almost nothing I can do to break the habit so is nail biting a real addiction?
Onychophagia is the habit of compulsive nail biting. Onychophagia can be considered an addiction due to both the psychological and physical manifestation of biting nails. Nail biting is definitely a psychological issue for many different reasons. Many people bite their nails when they are stressed, anxious, worried, etc. The nail biting releases nervous tension in stressful situations.
Nail biting is also known to occur when people are bored or feel personal discomfort. I think these are two of the main reasons that I bite my nails because I usually find myself doing it while I am doing homework or reading, and when I am in the midst of waiting for something big to happen. For example, I often find myself biting my nails before an important game or during a test or exam.
On top of nail biting causing nails to look gross and ugly, it also has the potential to create various health problems. Bacteria, viruses, and germs live under peoples nails so when people bite their nails they have a higher risk of infection. The most common infections due to nail biting are those affecting the gastrointestinal area. These infections result in diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Also, herpes is the most common viral disease linked to nail biting. A person who bites their nails spreads the herpes virus not only around their mouth but also around their fingers. The best way to avoid these problems is by keeping your fingers out of your mouth even though that seems impossible for some of us to do at times.