is nail biting common

2023-06-05

Onychophagia, more commonly known as nail biting, affects countless people today. Although it normally starts in childhood, the bad habit can linger into adulthood if not confronted. For many, it is simply a sullen practice, however, nail biting can become an uncontrollable addiction that leads to extensive harm to the nails and skin in the surrounding area.

Nail biting is shockingly prevalent. Research shows that nearly 1 out of 3 children aged 7 to 10 have the habit, while the number drops as they become older. This habit is one of the most widespread among youth, which shows how difficult it can be for some to break.

A vast portion of young adults have picked up a worrying habit – biting their nails. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology observed that 1 in 5 adults aged 18 to 30 are succumbing to this practice, whereas the numbers dip for those aged 60 and over, where only 5% are reportedly doing so. Still, there is a chance these stats might be understated, as many feel embarrassed about admitting this trait.

Nail biting can be a compulsion for many individuals, having an array of origins that explain why people may engage in such a habit. Stress, anxiety, and boredom are potential stimulants to the behavior, as is nervousness or excitement. It may also be a familial trait, matrilineally passed down through bloodlines – an inherent proclivity for certain behaviors.

No matter the cause, nail biting can be a detrimental behavior. Not only can it harm the nails and skin around them, it can also lead to the spread of bacteria and germs, resulting in potential infections. Moreover, this habit may be linked to the presence of psychological issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Have a nail-biting issue? Don’t worry, there are certain measures to tackle it. First and foremost, it’s essential to spot what is causing the habit in the first place and then to plan alternative approaches such as doing exercises, indulging in deep breaths or practising some mind-body activities. Additionally, using treatments like bitter-tasting nail polish could be beneficial in curbing such a behavior.

Breaking a cycle of nail-biting is a achievable goal. Analyzing the reasons sparking this behavior can be the first step towards sustaining healthy nails. Strategies to tackle this habit have the potential to turn the temporary issue permanent with thoughtful action and intervention.

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