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Hello. I'm having big problems and I was hopping that someone could help me please. I am desperate for help. I have bitten my nails since I was a very young child and this continued to my youth. I'm now 29 year old male and this really looks terrible.
Some people connect this nail biting with anxiety and nervousness but this is not my case. My parents made such a big issue out of my nail biting, humiliating me, making me wear stuff on them but nothing could help me.
I bite them all the time wither I'm nervous or perfectly calm. I have two fingers where I have no nail at all, from biting them off. Please tell me, is this disorder described in medicine and what my options for quitting with this awful habit are!?My friend mentioned something called chronic onychophagia.

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Hello. I've decided to help you because I know how serious this disorder can be. Yes, it is called chronic onychophagia.
Nail biting is the habit of biting one's fingernails or toenails during periods of nervousness, stress or boredom. It can also be a sign of mental or emotional disorder.
I don’t know did you know but people who bite theirs fingernails are more often male than female and individuals with a higher rate of intelligence tend to bite their nails more than those of less intelligence.
I have also read that various forms of aversion therapy exist to help people stop biting their nails. These include methods such as coating the nails with a bad-tasting substance or wearing a rubber band on their wrist. Talk with your nail technician!
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I too have the same problem. I think I started when I was about 4 or 5 years old, and now I'm 22. So I've been doing it for quite a long time. With me though, I started using nail clippers instead of biting them. Which of course is causing major problems. I also am missing 2 of my nails......and it is just digusting. My mom bite her nails until she got enganged and only stopped due to the embarassement of showing her wedding ring to everyone.......
I dont even know where to begin, wish this was dealt with when I was 5.....
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I also bite all my nails to destruction, even my toenails, which hurts like hell sometimes ! my parents also made a huge issue of my nail biting, If anyone wants to try & stop, maybe together as a small group, we could encourage each other ?
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My parents also humiliated me over my nailbiting, words that I still to this day find distressful, and I still bite my nails dreadfully, in fact they are apaulling, I have never seen nails bitten so far down as mine are

Lucy
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I am also a nail biter. I have bitten my nails since I was 4 years old. My older brother is also a nail biter and has never been able to quit. Sometimes I go a couple months where they grow and look decent, but a stressful event will cause me to tear at them and in a minute they could all be gone. It's caused me a lot of embarassment over the years and I wish I could stop for good. I have not lost any nails due to my biting, but they have bled and hurt too many times to count. I will be getting married next year and the last thing I want is for people to look at my mangled fingernail instead of the beautiful ring.
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I have tried everything to stop biting my nails. And on occassion I have been successful - but it never seems to last. I think the longest I have ever gone with out biting is 6 months.

I am 40ish and female - most nail biters are male and well under 40. I have read that only 5% of the over 30 population bites their nails. I have also read that nail biter are likely to be "intelligent." I am smart, but not a rocket scientist.

My grandmother bit her nails, my father bit his nails...and I have their hands. If the too were alive today and you placed our hands side by side you would be shocked at the resemblence.

I have been researching this issue nail biting for the past few years hoping something new will pop up - a cure.

I have tried the nail polish that tastes bad - this does not deter me. I have tried painting nails - I simply substitute biting of the nail polish until it is gone and then bite again. I have tried acrylic nails...which sort of worked - but honestly I would gnaw on the acrylics too.

Recently I have resorted to glue on nails - they are sort of funny - possibly tacky - but they look better than my biten nails. I bite these off all the time and I have noticed that if I don't bite them I am constantly picking at them. I continuously run one of the fake fingernails on my left hand under the fake fingernails on my right hand and then switch.

I have gnawed on these nails so much at that at time I develop a small calus on the tip of my tongue - it is gross and sort of hurt - but if I can keep my hands out of my mouth for a few days it goes away.

I recently downloaded a "cheap" hypnosis file from the internet...and I have been listening to it over and over again.

I have been trying to process for myself where the desire to bite my nails comes from and althought I know that I want something to do with my hands, I actually notice a desire to "gnaw." It is not a desire to chew (I usually spit out my nails - I don't chew them up). Yes the sensation that I find pleasurable is gnawing, the was a dog (yes I am likening my self to a dog - somewhat embarassing) likes to gnaw on stuff.

I have even noticed that when I am biting my nails even when it is painful I am still getting a pleasure from the gnawing or going at it. It is only when I am completely done (I guess there is nothing much left to bite) and I have taken my hands away from my mouth and the throb that I even remotely regret my actions. Then of course I see my freshly biten nails and regret it even more.

I really like to talk with my hands - but when my nails are biten I am very reluctant to do this. I hate it when I have to point to something on a page bringing the little stub of a fignernail that I have left into the spot light. When I where the fake nails I use my hands much more freely when communicating.

I really want to quit. I am trying analyze why I do it so I can possibly resolve the issue once and for all. I just thought I would share this hoping that it would help someone or in case someone had a suggestion or a "new idea."
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Nail biting is a habit from which we recieve some amount of pleasure. It can be likened to smoking, nose-picking, hair pulling or dieting! There is no cure. There is no magic wand. All there is, is sheer determination and an acknowledgement that at some time we will slip back. However, as long as we persevere, these setbacks are temporary.
I used to bite my nails, they are now long, but weak. I can't quite remember when I stopped, but I am aware that sometimes my fingers are in my mouth and I'm chewing/gnawing a nail. Usually, its when my nails are chipped or no longer smooth. If I find myself nail biting, all I do is take my fingers out of my mouth, grap a file or clippers to trim the nail, and cross my arms or sit on my hands.
Thats it. That is all I do. At times I might have to do it 100 times or more, but I've got results. I've got long nails at last and I'm 36.

Good luck and keep trying.
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I am a 21 year old female and have been biting my nails and picking at my cuticles for as long as I can remember. My family also makes fun of me for it and don't seem to realize it's a disorder. I bite usually when I'm unstimulated, usually when watching tv and almost always bite my cuticles off until they bleed. I get a weird sensation to pick at my nails because I think they're imperfect, and by picking at them it will somehow make them perfect, although I know in my head that it's only making the problem worse. I have been trying to quit too but am unsuccessful.
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I have been biting my nails for as long as I can remember too. My family members were always telling me to stop every time they saw me gnawing away. I've probably done this for over a decade (I'm 26 now) but I'm not sure it may be longer. I've always been a nervous person. I have to wear band-aids on both pointer fingers because it makes me stop temporarily and because I'm embarrassed to show those two fingers. The right finger is worse. I bit half the nail completely off now it seems the nail that grew back is stuck to the nail bed so now I just strip layers off the surface. This nail has dark brown vertical lines and when I put nail polish on it has to be a dark hue to cover how unsightly it is. The other finger is starting to look brown on the side of the nail where I've been biting. I hate doing this but I can't stop. I also do that to my toe nails with a nail clipper and they bleed and hurt for days. When my fingernails and toenails grow a bit I start all over again. I am doing better I think, thanks to the band-aids or the fact that I'm busy most of the time working, running after a three year old, house chores, etc. It's when I have nothing to do when I start gnawing. After years of smoking I quit cold turkey when I found out I was pregnant and I hope I can quit doing this too.
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we severe nailbiters are not alone with this habit even if it maybe bordering on OCD ! I also find I just keep biting hoping they will all be exactly the same length so they can all grow together, how silly ! I also bite and pick my toenails, sometimes so badly I can't put shoes on for a few days
I would like to, be in contact with others with this habit, please email me
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sometimes i use a knife or clippers, and i also bite all the skin around my fingers. i also have calus's all over my hands that i chew on. is there medication for this
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Oh my goodness, I never realized until earlier this evening that my nail biting was actually a disorder. I was reading a community on LiveJournal and someone made a post about a disorder called trichotillomania, which is pulling your hair out. I realized that I have a nagging urge to constantly tweeze my eyebrows and I often pull at my eyelashes so much that I end up with small bald spots. I also have caught myself tweezing hair on my thighs, which seems to cause me to break out.

Then I started thinking about this whole nail biting problem, obviously onychophagia. I remember being yelled at when I was taking ballet class when I was 3 1/2 years old, and I was sent to bed with Tobasco sauce on my fingers to keep me from biting my nails, and also from sucking my thumb, which I had an issue with until I was more than 10 years old. It wasn't until I stopped sucking my thumb that I started tearing away at my cuticles, as well as my nails.

I was told by a dermatologist when I was 18 that I was fortunate to have ANY fingernails at all, considering the infections I had at the base of the nail bed.

I'm 24 years old now and I still suffer. I have been told to stop chewing my nails by friends, and even found myself saying "I'm not biting my nails" and immediately realizing that my finger was *in fact* in my mouth. So often I do not even realize that I'm biting.

I wore acrylic nails for several years, until recently when I got a serious case of being lazy and I stopped wearing them (I did them myself). I started using this stuff called Nail Magic, which can be found in a royal purple box at Sally Beauty Supply. It has helped my hereditary (and still worsened by my constant gnawing) weak, brittle, peeling nails to grow strong so it is MUCH harder for me to actually bite through them. I find that I still rip them off and bite at them to make them smooth when they do break, at which point I end up tearing them down to horrible lengths.

I also gnaw at my cuticles something fierce. The solution that I have found is applying a hand cream, one that absorbs quickly, like Palmer's Concentrated Cocoa Butter Cream (Walmart) and then applying a Liquid Bandage over the affected cuticle area. If you put on the two coats like it suggests, it creates a smooth layer over the dry, pointy, prickly hangnails that get caught on all my clothes and hair, which make me crazy until I bite or pick them off. The next morning (I do this at night), the liquid bandage is lifting around the skin that isn't damaged. I find pleasure in picking at the liquid bandage, instead of my damaged skin, and thereby get the relief that picking and gnawing gives me. The nice part is the liquid bandage won't just peel off like a bandaid, it will still cling to the damaged skin, so I often have enough time for the skin to actually heal! The liquid bandage won't last for more than a day or two, especially with washing your hands, so applying the hand cream to aid in healing, and then the liquid bandage helps SO much.

I don't remember to use the liquid bandage all the time, especially when I become stressed or busy, I'll often skip it at bed time, talking myself into believing that it will take FAR too much time and I need to get to sleep. The same for skipping on the Nail Magic. So my nails and cuticles will often fall into old habits, which I have yet to successfully break for any period of time. However the liquid bandage is almost unnoticeable, besides being slightly shiny or once it starts to peel in multiple areas, so I don't feel quite so bad about my hands now.

I also have caught myself constantly running my fingers through my scalp, looking for deposits of hair product. I've got several large, painful scabs in my scalp where I just can't seem to leave them alone until they heal. The same problem is for blemishes on my face, I can't leave my face alone. I actually think now that I am actually CAUSING the blemishes because I don't leave my face alone.

Like I said, I just realized this a few hours ago tonight. I know where the need to bite and pick comes from, though. My father was horribly abusive and living in a home with constant death threats (both verbal and physical), as well as constant physical, emotional and mental abuse from him is where this stems, it has to be. He also made daily "routine examinations" of my pubescent face and would wrench my neck and head in ways that were uncomfortable and painful as he groomed my skin for me. Sometimes it lasted for hours. I lived with him and my Mom (who suffered the abuse as well) from birth until I was 18, when I had him arrested. Whenever I am stressed, I find that I tear my fingertips to shreds. I find that when I'm bored, I end up in the bathroom, sitting on the counter with my feet in the sink, scouring my face less than 6 inches from the mirror for imperfections. The only way that I can ever get down is to keep telling myself to STOP and GET DOWN like I'm talking to my cat when she's on the kitchen table. Often I can't just say it sternly in my head, I have to say it out loud to myself, calling myself by name, and then I am able to stop and walk away.

I have always felt like I just didn't have the discipline to kick this bad habit. I think that now that I know that its a disorder, I'll have the motivation to hopefully kick this once and for all. I hope that this has been helpful to everyone, as your stories were very helpful to me.
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I TOO SUFFER FROM THESE PROBLEMS. I WAS DIAGNOSED IN THE FALL OF 2000 WITH PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA...SO THAT IS JUST SETTING ME UP FOR ISSUES. BUT I GUESS SINCE I WAS ABOUT FIVE OR SIX I BIT MY NAILS. BUT NOW AT THE AGE OF 27 IT'S HORRIBLE. I HAVE PRETTY MUCH NO NAILS. I KEEP MY TOE NAILS VERY SHORT...SOMETIMES I BITE THEM...OH YEAH I EAT THE NAIL PIECES TOO. WEIRD BUT TRUE. NOW I PICK AT MY SKIN WHICH IS DERMATILLOMANIA. IT'S VERY BAD. MY LEGS ARE COVERED WITH SCABS AND SUCH. I PICK AT MY SCALP TOO. I ALSO FIND IT SOOTHING TO PULL AT MY EYE LASHES AND MY EYE BROWS...ACTUALLY I'M MISSING PART OF MY LEFT EYEBROW. I'M TRYING TO LET MY EYEBROWS GROW BACK IN FROM MY PULLING THEM AND OVER PLUCKING. I ALSO LIKE TO PULL THE HAIR AROUND THE AREA NEAR MY FACE, ABOVE MY EARS...YOU KNOW THAT LITTLE BIT OF HAIR? I JUST HATE INPERFECTIONS ON MY BODY...BUT ALAS...MY BODY IS COVERED IN THEM...NO NAILS...SCABS...MISSING PARTS OF EYEBROW... 8-|


WELL, IT WAS NICE TO READ OTHER LETTERS WITH PEOPLE DEALING WITH ISSUES LIKE MINE...

~SHASTA
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i too have bitten my nails ever since i can remember. I never thought i was good enough for anything or anyone, my homelife was and is a constant battle trying to merge to families together. my parents divorced when i was about 8, which i suppose is why i do it. everyone asks me "why dont you just stop?" but i actually feel like i will bite them forever. the other day my friend asked me what was wrong with my fingers.

Also, i thought i must be the only one who has a "weird urge" or feeling that my nails are imperfect so if i push at the cuticle around the side of my nail, or if i just bite off this one jagged peice of nail then it will look better, but i know that its just making it worse. Its almost like anorexia or something.

Nail polish, normal and the bad tasting stuff do nothing to stop me. Hot sauce, soap, snapping elastic bands... ive tried it all.

About 4 years ago, my nail biting go so bad that i started to pull out my hair on the top of my head. (trichotillomania) I figured i mustve been the only one that would actually pull out hair one by one for pleasure until i googled it. I had an acutal bald spot about the size of a quarter, and id pin my hair in such a way to hide it. The hair pulling kept on for a year or more, but i managed to finally get contol of it because i wanted my pretty hair back again. I'll still catch myself pulling out a hair or two when im under stress or in a fight, but thats as far as it will go.

My only advice to others who suffer from nail biting or trichotillomania, having suffered (suffering) from both myself is sheer determination. Thats all you can do. I have yet to overcome my nail biting, but i know i could do it if i tried hard enough. I quit once for a month but i couldnt help but relapse. Im a like a smoker lol. No laughing matter though, good luck to you guys : )
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