Chew your stress away

Chew your stress away


It’s not uncommon to see those with bruised nails and cuticles. While nail-biting for some is a habit, for others it has reached a level of addiction often leading to infections and permanent damage to the fingers.

Compulsive nail-biting is also called onychophagia, while compulsively biting the skin is called dermatophagia. These behaviours are classified by psychiatrists as a type of impulse control disorder.

Dr Deepak Raheja, psychiatrist said, “This addiction is due to anxiety and nervousness. People bite nails to release their anxiety or stress. Children who bite their nails are those whose emotional needs are not met or who are more exposed to parties and are under a lot of rules and regulations.”

He also added, “There is behavioural therapy for curing nail-biting habit and children should be made aware of its consequences.”

Zuber Sherwani, a merchandiser said, “Nail-biting is timepass for me. I like biting nails and the skin around it. It’s also due to nervousness. But it’s very difficult to stop biting nails as it’s an addiction. I don’t realise how my fingers go inside my mouth.” He added, “I developed this habit since my childhood.

Once I even bruised my finger so severely that I had to go and see a doctor. One of my nails had to be pulled out. But I still bite my nails.”
Ram Bhardwaj, a student and a businessman seconded Zuber.

“This activity is timepass for me as it diverts my mind. It’s a habit I developed since my childhood. Often blood oozes out of my skin but it’s difficult to give up on this habit... I can’t get over it.”

In order to deal with the addiction of nail-biting, it is important to know the reason behind it. This habit is due to anxiety and work pressure.

“I often end up biting my nails when I am under pressure,” said Ankur Bhardwaj, a professional.

Nail-biting eventually leads to fissures that can serve as the gateway for infections, not to mention the immense amounts of microbes that can be found underneath the nail plates.

Most nail-biting cases start during childhood and becomes a habit as a person grows up.