- What is Onychophagia?
- Onychophagia Symptoms
- Onychophagia Causes
- Onychophagia Treatment
- Onychophagia Cure
What is Onychophagia?
This is basically compulsive biting of the nail and is a body focused repetitive behavior that causes destruction of the individual’s own fingernails as well as the skin around the cuticles and nails. Biting of the nails is fairly common but with some individuals it can be more than just a bad habit. It may become very serious, as these individuals are suffering from compulsive nail-biting and they can experience bruises, bleeding, and permanent damage to the fingers as well as infections.
This behavior is normally unconscious and individuals with this compulsion behavior can have great difficulty stopping due to the fact that they are not even aware of their actions. Onychophagia involves the biting of the nail. Compulsively biting of just the skin is referred to a dermatophagia. These behaviors are classified as a type of impulse control disorder.
Several sources list the following symptoms and signs of onychophagia:
- Short nails
- Bleeding skin around nails
- Skin damage around nails
- Compulsive nail biting
- Painful nails
The reason for nail biting that is compulsive is possibly a blending of environmental as well as biological factors. Compulsive grooming has been seen in all animals with the behavior increasing while under stress.
Nail biting which is compulsive is usually seen in those individuals who suffer with obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as body dysmmorphic disorder. Since this is a repeated behavior and is common in individuals suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is often reflected to be on the OC continuum of disorder. These types of disorders are prone to be seen in families.
Usually there are numerous reasons why individuals with this behavior continue it and normally it may be much more than only a difficulty of will-power.
In contrast, whenever individuals are inactive or bored, nail-biting helps to keep an individual awake or alert rather than otherwise becoming distracted or bored.
Some nail-biters can spend tremendous time examining and grooming their nails for irregularities and then trying to fix these problems. Ironically, the nail-biting ends always in the nails looking worse in spite of the effects leading to nails being perfect.
Nail-biting may cause a cycle that is self-perpetuating. This nail-biting leads to anxiety and shame, which can result in more nail-biting.
The very first-line of management for obsessive-compulsive disorder is normally anti-depressant drugs, especially serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SRIs. This includes the familiar “selective” serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs which include:
The dosages for anti-obsessional abilities are normally higher than what is required for anti-depressant properties.
Most individuals who attempt SRIs will be “treatment responders,” most studies have shown that the reduction of symptoms inclines to be meek at best. Medication is not a total cure only a suggestion the medication has lessened OCD symptoms by some degrees. Together with the medication, there needs to be cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT is used to describe evidence-based treatments that are focus on reducing an individual’s current behavior thru the application of learning theories to psychotherapy.
There is no information on the internet as to the cure rate for this disorder. But, it is doubtful that cure can be complete without some type of behavior therapy. Normally there is only about a 30% decrease in symptoms using medication alone.