Nail biting adult

How to Stop Nail Biting in Adults

Nail biting is a bad habit that forms for a variety of reasons, but once it does it’s difficult to stop. You probably already hate that you bite your nails but you can’t put an end to it. It’s okay.

Adult Nail Biting

Physical habits like nail biting are, by design, created to satisfy yourself or distract from something else. Nail biting reasons in adults are multifaceted and there are many causes of it. Don’t worry, if you follow these steps you can learn how to stop nail biting in adults.

What Causes Nail Biting in Adults?

Stress and anxiety, which could lead to nail biting in adults
Stress and anxiety can lead to nail biting in adults

Nail biting, like a lot of physical tics and coping mechanisms, typically begins in childhood, accelerates during adolescence, and can continue into adulthood. Once the habit begins, it can be difficult to manage and put an end to it. The problem with adult nail biting is that it is reinforced by the feeling of relief it gives you when you’re nervous, impatient, frustrated, or angry.

Extreme nail biting in adults can form from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and panic disorder but it is mostly used as a mechanism to keep the person occupied physically when other parts of the brain are used by thoughts or emotions. It can also simply be something you do when you’re thinking about other stuff, an absent-minded habit. The causes of nail biting in adults vary but there are only a few places it comes from. Once you understand why you bite your nails and what the risks are of doing it, it will be easier to stop nail biting habits in adults.  

The Risks & Side Effects of Nail Biting

Most of the risks and side effects of severe nail biting in adults are mental, but the social disadvantages should not be ignored. You can exacerbate problems with anxiety, depression, panic, and attention deficit. Still there are physical side effects and consequences. Skin infection, swelling, and irritation can result from excessive nail biting in adults. Fungal infections and abnormal nail growth are physical consequences of biting. Bacteria and viruses from your fingers and mouth will go onto your fingers and can be passed to others. It can even harm your teeth by chipping, misalignment, and dental resorption. Furthermore, joint pain and dysfunction could happen if the biting occurs often. The physical and mental consequences of nail biting are more than enough reason to find a way to find nail biting remedies for adults.

Nail biting in grown ups is unsightly, and leads to judgement about a person. This is a reality of the world we live in where impressions matter. Biting nails in the workplace can really damage a person’s reputation or ability to get promoted because of unconscious biases. Fortunately, there are ways to kick the nasty habit. Use the best product available and follow a program, and most importantly, take it seriously.

Treatments & Remedies for Adult Nail Biting

A professional manicure to stop nail biting in adults
A professional manicure can stop nail biting in adults

When it comes to figuring out how to stop nail biting in adults, there are lots of opinions but really only one solution that consistently works – the bitter nail biting polish and a keeping your nails groomed. The first nail biting remedies for adults is to keep your nails trimmed down and smooth with no hang-nails, and use a program and daily discipline to keep an awareness about the habit and motivation to quit. If your first attempt to stop biting fails, consider getting your nails professionally manicured (even if you are a man, it is not uncommon). Not only will actually spending the money motivate you, but there will be nothing to bite. If you still can’t stop there are other solutions.

The most effective nail biting solutions for adults include covering the nails with bitter translucent nail polish. There are different types of nail polish that taste bad so that when you go to unconsciously bite your nails you are reminded to stop. Simply buy the nail polish and apply it to them, and if it is a long-lasting strong flavor you will be repulsed by its taste. The best nail biting polish will be the strongest and most long-lasting, and also safety tested to ensure there are no carcinogens. Success is increased if used in conjunction with well-groomed nails and a motivational program.

Another method to stop adult nail biting is to cover your fingers with gloves or something else. Tape, stickers, and bandages can help you stop biting because there will be a barrier to the nail. Whatever method you find to cover your nails and stop your biting habit is a good idea.

Of course there is a significant mental aspect to this habit. Nail biting treatment for adults includes identifying and treating the emotional triggers of it. If you can figure out what makes you bite your nails, you will be able to stop yourself in the moment. You can also come up with methods to dissuade you when you catch yourself in an emotional trigger. This can be either punitive or soothing, which may help you replace the habit with something else. Whatever you replace it with, you should make gradual changes to determine new ways to stop nail biting in adults and stay conscious that it is a problem.

When Should Adults See A Doctor For Nail Biting

Seeing a doctor can help stop nail biting in adults
Some adults may find that seeing a doctor can help them stop biting their nails

If you have tried all of this and can’t stop nail biting, you might want to see a skin doctor (dermatologist). There are a few indications that you should see a doctor. Make an appointment if you keep experiencing skin or nail infection, discoloration of the skin, ingrown or curled nails, bleeding, swelling, growing, thinning or thickening of the nails, and nails separating from the skin.

Your doctor will give you some tips on how to stop the habit, including hypnotherapy. Another option is to receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is when a therapist facilitates the process of identifying the unhelpful behavior patterns and replacing them with new, healthier behaviors. Through a number of sessions and a plan, this form of therapy can be very effective.

Adult nail biting is not easy to put an end to it, but it is completely within your grasp because hundreds of thousands of adults have successfully broken the habit. When you get tired of the physical and mental consequences and identify the underlying reasons that you go back to the habit, you can figure out how to stop a nail biting habit in adults. Nail biting is one of those habits that is difficult to break. It has physical and emotional reasons that can begin during childhood, making it ingrained into the person’s coping and passive brain patterns. It can be controlled and you can stop this bad habit. Follow the tips above to figure out how to stop nail biting in adults. If all else fails, seek other professional assistance.