Ever since I was little I have always needed to be picking at something. Whether I am playing with my food at dinner, ripping up little pieces of paper in class, or picking at my nails, I am constantly fidgeting around with something. This seems non-detrimental and it is for the most part, except for the nails. I do not only pick at my nails, but I also bite the skin around my nails, sometimes until the point of bleeding. For awhile, I had the mentality that everyone has there weird habits and this is mine. I did not think there was any real reasoning behind it, until I met someone who did the same thing. She saw my torn up fingers and quickly blurted out the observation and showed me her fingers. She began to talk about it being a nervous habit, and I began to realize that whenever I am feeling stress or anxiety, I resort to biting the skin around my nails.
I decided to do some research on this, and hopefully find some ways to stop myself from doing this because of the gross outer appearance of my fingers, along with the physical pain. I found through this site that that there is an actual medical name for this tendency called Dermatophagia and it is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Those who bite at their own skin around their nails like I do, are referred to as “Wolf Biters.” These people get a certain type of satisfaction from biting on the skin and causing pain. The post on the website states that this can run in the family. Although I do not think there are any other “wolf biters,” in my family, there is history of OCD, which makes clear sense as to why I do this to myself.
The reason that I was so unaware of this might have been because there are very few studies on the subject. As we talked about in class, this could be due to the fact that not many people have found it important enough to spend countless amounts of money and time on the research.