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  • 2/8/2013

Treatment of nail biting

nail biting

The most common habits in children that require treatment can be significantly improved with behavioural interventions, without the use of medications. Sometimes however, in addition to behavioural treatments, medications may be required to attain optimal treatment outcomes.


Some of the nasty habits such as nail biting have been shown to respond well to certain types of medication. The medications used to treat the problem include the newest, most potent anti-depressants.

Behavioural Therapy

Beside the fact that most experts believe that behavioural therapy cannot be that much helpful, some patients have found behavioural therapy to be beneficial on its own or as a complement to medication.

The first part of nail biting therapy consists of:

Habit Reversal Training (HRT)

It is a four-step process which teaches how to get aware of your habbits, how to relax, how to breathe and focus yourself, and to perform a competing and opposing muscle response. It teaches you to replace the nail biting habit with a more constructive habit if possible.

Stimulus control (SC)

SC is a behavioural treatment that seeks to help sufferers identify, and then eliminate, avoid, or change the particular activities, environmental factors, mood states, or circumstances that have become associated with, and that trigger picking or pulling. The goal of this part of the therapy is to consciously control these triggers that lead to the undesirable behaviours, and to create new learned connections between the urges and new non-destructive behaviours.

Other Treatments

· Various forms of aversion therapy exist to help people stop biting their nails. These include:

· Coating the nails with a bad-tasting substance

· Wearing a rubber band on their wrist

· Having friends and family members snap it when they see nail biting.

· Keeping a record of when one bites may also be helpful in finding the root of the problem.

· Orthodontic treatment - Some nail biters who undergo this kind of treatment find that wearing a bite plate makes it impossible for them to bite their nails with their teeth.

Unfortunately some compulsive nail-biters, find the effectiveness of all of these remedies to be poor. Like other nervous habits, nail biting is sometimes a symptom of an emotional problem. In these cases, resolving the underlying problem can help to lessen or eliminate the nail-biting habit.

Tips for parents

· Keep the kid’s hands occupied. · Cut the fingernails short so there's nothing to tempt the kid to bite. · Wait and hope · Check it out with some health specialist

Nail biting is a common habit. Although unsanitary, it typically causes no long-term nail problems. The fact is that most of the childhood habits that do not involve self-injury are benign and disappear without any special intervention. When a habit persists and interferes with daily functioning, intervention is warranted.

The prognosis for reducing and eliminating habit disorders is typically good. Treatment research shows that behavioural intervention can reduce the habit behaviour by 90%.

Source: steadyhealth.com

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