Nail Biting

It is estimated that 30% of the adult population is suffering from onychophagia (nail biting). It has been referred to by some as a filthy habit, due to the fact it transmits germs from your hand to your mouth, but if you look closely at the 'why' I think these individuals might have a reformed opinion on the matter.

There can be many reasons why people bite their nails: boredom, excitement, habit, feeling stressed or anxious. This might explain why most people will bite their nails during puberty; then learn this behaviour so it can provide some distraction or relief from an external factor. This habit can then quickly turn into a body-focused repetitive behaviour. 

The American Psychiatric association who publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) has changed the designation of nail biting from 'not otherwise classified' to 'obsessive compulsive disorder'. This places nail biting in the same boat as OCD and trichotillomania (hair pulling). This has led to the revelation that nail biting can be harder to give up than other additive habits such as smoking. 

The benefits of hypnosis when treating this condition is that it assists the subconscious mind by highlighting every time you engage in the habit. Hypnosis makes you more aware of your behaviour, for example, focusing attention on your hands, and it then allows you to take control and stop the habit. It does this by making the subconscious aware that you are about to bring your hands to your mouth, and this stops the unwanted behaviour before it starts, as you can take control and make the choice to stop biting your nails; thus unlearning what you have not wanted to learn.

This process is remarkably quick as it increases your awareness by unlocking the potential of your subconscious, and you can do it all in an hour. Such a small amount of your time, invested properly, makes the hypnotic process a monumental game changer when it comes to nail biting.    

In some cases nail biting may not be the root cause of a problem, instead it may be presenting as a symptom of a bigger issue that may not be prevalent. A good hypnotherapist will also take the time to explore the reasons behind the addiction, to ensure nothing will hold you back. This will allow you to move forward confidently knowing that this habit no longer controls you; you control it.          

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Written by Brian Turner (BA Hons, MHS Acc, Prof. Dip PsyC, Dip Hyp CS, Cert. Supervision.)

I am Brian Turner and I am a therapist that uses different therapies and techniques to promote an active well-being in all of my clients. I have had success with resolving unwanted habits, and thought patterns.… Read more

Written by Brian Turner (BA Hons, MHS Acc, Prof. Dip PsyC, Dip Hyp CS, Cert. Supervision.)

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