Is nail biting an addiction?


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.



5 thoughts on “Is nail biting an addiction?

  1. Jessica Ann Taylor

    Hi Christina,
    I also bite my nails and can’t seem to stop! Every year I make it my New Years resolution to stop, and every year I last about 2 weeks before the addiction takes over and I start again. I’ve tried everything from the bad tasting serum you put on, to keeping them painted, but nothing seems to help! Heres a WikiHow on How to stop biting your nails: I’ve probably attempted every one of these tricks, but I’m curious to see how other people have stopped.

  2. Nicole Rene Gelb

    I don’t bite my nails but I do however bite my cuticles, which is a disgusting habit, which I have taken on. I don’t think that biting nails or cuticles is an addiction; I believe I bite my cuticles when I am nervous or anxious about something. I find myself biting them when I am thinking about sometime in depth and am overwhelmed over something significant in my life. I think that nail biting is a nervous habit but I don’t believe it is an addiction. Here is a really interesting article that discusses if nail biting is a mental disorder or just a bad habit,

  3. Christopher Vecchio

    I used to be a huge nail biter but I don’t do it quite as often anymore. I still find myself doing it when I’m extremely stressed out or nervous. I used to bite my nails when I played baseball. My dad would always yell out at me in the field, “stop biting your nails and get ready.” I guess it was because of how bored I was out there sometimes. It really is a nasty habit and an extremely hard one to break. Most of the time I never realized I was doing it. I wish I could’ve broke this habit sooner an hopefully continue not to bite my nails as much as I used to.

  4. Emily Peacock

    I’m not a nail biter myself, but I hope with these findings dropping the habit will come more easily!

  5. Charlotte Moriarty

    I too find myself to be a nail biter. An interesting solution I came across is to apply a deterrent, or a serum that puts a terrible taste on the tail making it very “unappetizing” to bite. The deterrent usually consists of a hot product like cayenne pepper or a bitter product such as denatonium saccharide.

    Also, it takes about a month to make/break a habit, so, if you can stop for about that time you might be able to finally kick the habit.

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