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Chronic Nail Biting in Adults
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Chronic Nail Biting in Adults

I am not a child, but I am desperate for help. I have bitten my nails since I was a very young child. I am a 42 year old female. My mother tried everyting possible growing up. The stuff you paint on, rewards, tapeing them up, etc...... As an adult it is worse than ever. I have two fingers where I have NO nail at all, from biting them off. It rarely hurts because I guess there are no nerves left. They do bleed and people cringe when they look at my hands. I get sick all the time from germs. ( I am a teacher and work around a lot of germs ) I have tried hypnosis, acupuncture, and even put on fake nails. Nothing works. I have been diagnosed as obsessive compulsive, and take medication for it. It has been a life altering change in many respects, but has done nothing for the nail biting. HELP....what else can I do. I'll do anything, but have just about given in to the problem.
Thanks,C.Sellers
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This condition (called onychophagia) is one of several (joined by hair pulling or trichotillomania and skin picking) which are a sub-group of Obsessive-Compulsive Dosorder. One of the characteristics of this sub-group is that they become habit patterns. The behaviors can be associated with tension and, to the extent that they are, can serve a tension reduction purpose. However, once established as a habit, they may not really be associated with tension. It is important to treat these conditions with medication and therapy. Medications commonly employed are the serotoninergic agents, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro and also Anafranil. Some clinicians also emply a type of B-vitamin. In addition, to augment the serotoningmedications, agents such as Risperda, Zyprexa, Geodon and Abilify can be useful, particulary in intractable cases. Therapy consists of Cognitve-Behavioral treatment and involves Habit Reversal Training along with Exposure and Response Prevention. Medication alone will help but not likely solve the problem. You may want to have your medication plan reviewed, and by all means seek out some therpay if you are not already doing so. You can achive relief.
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Someone wrote to Columbia University's online service that answers health questions to ask about ways of avoiding a similar compulsion (picking at her face). It must be pretty common, because about 25 readers wrote in with responses. Some of their suggestions about how to avoid face picking might also help you with your nailbiting. Here is the link (you will have to copy it into the address bar of your browser because I don't know how to put in a hyperlink). At least on my screen, you have to go down to the bottom of the page to see the question and the lists of responses.

http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/1431.html

Good luck.
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i have always bitten my nails and now i am growing them but need some information about growing them i have been filing them so i dont bite them is this ok to keep filing them and will this help growing them or not help also how does the nail grow over my fingers as i bit them down to the skin but do still have nails they are coming on but got to grow over the tops of my fingers.
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I am a 45 year old woman and I thought that nail biting was something I would "grow out" of...... well, after all these years I am still ashamed to say I am still waiting!  I too tried the paint on horrid stuff (you get used to it), acrylic nails (fine until they fall off and yes your nails do grow underneath - but it doesn't stop you biting them)- I know I need will power and have tried time and time again (each New Year) but I don't last long.  I also tried hypnotherapy, but again, that didn't work.  Any other suggestions anyone?  

It is nice to know I am not alone, though.

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My husband helped me break my nailbiting habit(sorry can't tell ya how).I'm 29 and have bitten my nails for almost all of them 29 years.Never had nails in my life.And omg now I do, I never knew you could feel alot of things with your nails.

And to answer your question on filing your nails.You really should wait till your nails are above your tips of your fingers.Then you are to begin shaping them. And yeah shaping(never even knew it existed) there is two ways to shape your nails.Don't get discouraged though, buy a manicure kit(they give good advice)And just on a personal note I've already broken two.And when I trimmed them down ,I had no urge to bite my nails ,It is a wonderful achievement.
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(Apologies for the long comment, but...) I'm 38 and have evidently bitten my nails since around the age of one, before I learned to talk, even. Until the age of seven I had 8-10 warts around the cuticle of each nail which were subsequently burnt off, but then the nail biting became even worse. Sometimes it feels like a phantom weight, and that even gravity weights too heavily on my nails and I want to remove them all in order to lighten the load! In the last year, I've also started biting the skin off my finger pads down to holes on both my thumbs and first fingers. Oftentimes it's distressing and debilitating to even hold a pen and do basic things (like type). Over the course of my life I've tried everything including the bitter stuff you paint on (for the first 15 yrs of my life), rewards, bribes, wearing gloves or plastering up all my nails (the urge is too strong and I rip them off - like my nails!), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), habbit replacement, meditation & relaxation exercises & tapes, massage, hypnotherapy, accupuncture, Chinese herbs, vitamin & mineral replacement therapy (as it was suggested the nails were subconsciously bitten off due to a deficiency in some mineral etc or other - which one/two/more?, I never found out...) Recently it was suggested that it's not the nails, but rather the mouth - the oral fixation - which is the problem to be remedied, so CBT suggested alternatively either smacking my hand/mouth or conversely loving my nails and kissing my fingertips whenever biting. Honestly, the things we try... HOWEVER The only time I EVER LOST THE URGE TO BITE was recently when I took Nicobrevin to stop smoking cigarettes and after 3 days of taking was amazed to discover that for the first time in my life I NO LONGER HAD ANY DESIRE to bite my nails. While I successfully did not smoke for three months, nor did I bite my nails, nor experience the urge to, after this time the urge returned and so too the biting (and smoking as it happens - three days after starting to bite again)! Unfortunately the Nicobrevin costs NZ$200 per month and is too costly for me to take regularly as a nail-biting deterrant and I tried to find out what ingredient may be in this product that I could purchase singularly that would stem the bodily urge. It's been suggested it may ? be quinnine - I've asked around and so far it seems you cannot simply buy quinnine over the counter? but that it is found in gin and tonic water, but I wouldn't suggest replacing nail biting with alcoholism ... I wondered if it may be the combination of ingredients in the case of this particular product which calm the nervous system (to help with withdrawal symptoms) but what an amazing find this has been for me ... to experience the complete relief of the urge to bite my nails. That means it is possible to experience the relief! I want to find out what ingregient/s of this product, or any other you may suggest that you've found relief with, which may be the active urge-releaser! I do have an elevated level of anxiety and low pain threshold, so maybe finding the correct relief for the cause of this may be tied in with eliminating the urge to bite. I'm interested in treating/removing the CAUSE, rather than merely symptomatic relief. Does this syllogism of mine bring any thoughts/suggestions to mind on your part? Hoping my comments may bring you some? Looking forward to your input.  Thanks.
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I am also a very severe nailbiter, like one of the other posters, most of my nails are only 1/8th inch long, just tiny slivers of nail, bitten down deep into my nailbeds, which has made the balls of my fingertips grow over, so I doubt the nails could ever grow back, should i be able to stop. I have been biting them like this since I was a very young girl, about 4 i think, I even bite my toenails, which, I know is gross, My parents made such a big issue out of my nailbiting, humiliating me, making me wear stuff on them, god I go red, just remembering it, I have tried most so called "cures" with no luck.
I'd very much, like to hear from any other chronic nailbiters out there ? maybe we can stop ? given encouragement help and most important understanding to each other, rather than scorn and ridicule, please email me, ***@****
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