Nail biting, also called onychophagia, is a habit that relieves stress. It's classified as a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRD,) a category that includes other nervous habits like hair twisting. Half of children between the ages of ten and eighteen bite their nails, but this habit tapers off as they get older. Adult nail biting is rare, especially past the age of thirty.
The most common treatment is the use of nail polishes that contain bitterants, making the nails extremely unpalatable when they enter the mouth.
In more severe cases, habit reversal training (HRT) may be used. This method has the sufferer identify when they perform the undesired habit, in this case nail biting, and replace it with a different, less damaging habit. While the behavior will taper off in the first couple weeks, it can take as long as three months to completely stop the undesired action.
Posted 3519 day ago