Nail Biting Mental Disorder or Bad habit?

Nail Biting Mental Disorder or Bad habit?

nail biting. female blond hair and red lipstick biting her nail. left hand

Nail biting or onychophagia (“onycho” means “nails,” and “phagia” is the act of eating) also known as onychophagy is an oral compulsive habit which is a relatively common with people of all ages. Although, there are many theories as to why people bite their nails; most agree it often comes from stress or may be an activity picked up as a child. Nail biting usually starts from childhood before developing into a habit or a regular behavior when people feel different emotions such as stress or boredom. An average of 30% of children and 45% of teenagers are affected by the habit.

Famous People Who Bite Nails

I am sure who won’t like to be caught right in the act or nail biting - Nail biting is indeed a nasty habit which is ultimately far from attractive. However, it may interest you to know that nobody is totally immune to nail biting; as we have all a victim once or twice in our live tune. Here’s a list of celebrities caught in the act of nail biting – don’t worry, your name is not on the list...

  • Kate Middleton
  • Britney Spears
  • Robbie Williams
  • Uma Thurman
  • James McAvoy
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Gordon Brown
  • Andy Roddick

Here Are Problems That Can Arise from Nail Biting

nail biting damage. shows right hand nails and little specks of blood and badly damaged nauil beds and cuticles from biting

If you are a chronic nail biter; I have news for you - unfortunately, it’s not great news.

  1. Nail Infections

Nail biters are vulnerable to paronychia, a skin ailment that develops around your nails. While you chew your nails, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms navigate through the tiny tears or abrasions, leading to swelling, redness, and pus around your nail. Biting your nails usually leads to the skin around them getting irritated and unsightly.


  1. Dental Problems

Scientific research has proven that nail biting can certainly interfere with proper dental occlusion. This is the occasion where your teeth may shift out of their ideal position, become misshapen, wear down prematurely, and become weakened by biting your nails over time.

  1. Impaired Quality of Life

Let me quickly posit here that chronic nail biters significantly suffer higher quality of life impairment. The level of impairment and negative influence on the quality of life increases with time spent on nail biting, the number of involved fingernails and those who report visible nail abnormalities.

Is This Mental Disorder or Bad habit?

Following the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, onychophagia is usually classified either as an impulse control disorder (DSMR IV) or an obsessive compulsive disorder (DSMR V). This truly is potentially due to the fact that the majority of people seen with nail-biting have an underlying psychological issue (turmoil) that is unresolved. It is hypothesized that such repressed psychological issues might prompt the patients to exhibit a response to that internal stress, and so they respond by biting their nails.

It is also said that people who bite their nails chronically and persistently have an “ana; personality,” or in people who did not resolve the “oral stage of development (15 months to 3 years), according to Erik Erikson. Because of that, they still have a tendency of putting several things in their mouths (this is also hypothesized for people who chew gum excessively.) Another factor that supports the psychological origin of nail biting is the fact that it is associated with other psychological disturbances such as skin-biting, hair-biting or hair pulling (trichotillomania), and tooth-clenching and grinding (bruxism). It is more common in children, and this is potentially due to the fact that it originates at a young age.

In conclusion; I believe nail biting (onychophagia) is a light psychological problem as it is more than just a bad habit. Remember, nail biting always become an impulse action to its victims. That is another reason for you to make a rigorous effort to stop the act.

Get The Stop Nail Biting Hypnosis and End This Bad Habit Now