Biting your nails is not just a silly little habit

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.


6 thoughts on “Biting your nails is not just a silly little habit

  1. Brett Alan Merritt

    I also have a tendency to bite my nails. I don’t do it because I’m nervous or anxious though. I just do it when they start getting too long. Do you think my case would be more of an OCD thing rather than me being a wolf biter?

  2. Cole Donald Rogers

    Although I had never been the one to bite my nails I found myself to be a finger cracker. During middle school I had this weird obsession to contort my fingers until every little crackle was out. My parents quickly picked up on this bad habit and being the little naive know it all I had always perceived it as a normal thing. But having realized that I was doing this not subconsciously and the constant nagging of my parents, I did some research and came to the conclusion, just as your article states, it was due to stress. In little time I learned how to cope with my stress and for anyone who is suffering from these problems here is a quick article I found that may help:
    10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast
    (You can even do some techniques anywhere and at any time of the day)

  3. Trae Vann Morgan-White

    I am currently facing this problem. My skin on my fingers is peeling and I literally have the urge to bite the skin off. It’s irritating! Suggestion: You could have found some strong studies that could help your post. Other than that, interesting article… especially for me. x(

  4. Imaani Allen

    I had a big nail biting issue when I was younger. I remember that I would always bite my nails when I was either stressed or bored. I was always ashamed of showing my fingers in public. It took me four years to finally kick that habit.

  5. Angelica Marie Arguello

    My mom has always bitten her nails and I can’t stand it. I think you could have added some more scientific studies or background/evidence to this post just to give that science-y kick!

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