Whaddaya Know? Nail Biting Is A Real Disorder
Nail Biting to be Labeled An OCD
Calling all nail biters: your heretofore nibbling habit will soon be labeled an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
As a kid, I used to obsess over chewing on my nails, to the point where my older brother poured hot sauce on them in an attempt to get me to stop.
It didn't work.
I essentially grew out of the habit and slowly became proud of some pretty kick-ass, long, ladylike nails.
Somewhere along the line though, over the past couple of years, I returned to my old habit. I'm not sure when or why, but I chalk it up to stress. And, though I've been trying to stop, since after all, it's a fairly gross habit, it hasn't been easy.
Now I understand why.And, even though I only chomp on a couple of nails, I can see how it could get out of hand.
Carol Mathews, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, explains, "As with hair pulling and skin picking, nail biting isn't a disorder unless it is impairing, distressing, and meets a certain clinical level of severity."
She adds, "It is a very small minority of people."
This includes people who "have bitten so much that they are getting infections," or those that cause "physical damage that is impairing their ability to use their hands."
Okay, I'm not quite at that level, but I do want to curb this nasty habit.
The Today Show website has some help for moving beyond nail biting, including finding other things to fill your time, keeping your nails trimmed and manicured, making the nails taste bad with products designed for biters, and managing your stress and anxiety.