4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Why do I bite my nails?

Hey, Matt:

I have this really gross habit of biting not only my fingernails but the skin around them. I've been doing this since I was a little kid and have been told it's a "nervous habit." But I'm not really a nervous person. I just enjoy doing it. Why am I doing this? Is it common? I know bout that stuff parents put on kids' fingers to get them to stop, but it'll never work with me. I'll just get used to the taste.

-- Chewy, the net

By now you're in a pretty exclusive club, Chewy. Surveys say only about 5% of adults bite their nails. Virtually all of them started as little tads; 28 to 33% of kids bite their nails at some time. Adolescents 44%. And 20% to 30% of young adults. You may not be "nervous," but from what's known about the activity, it likely started as a tension-reducer and now has mutated into a full-blown habit. It may serve no calming purpose now, but it did at one time. (Although nail-biting certainly calms you down when you have the uncontrollable urge to bite your nails.) It's an activity like lip chewing or knuckle cracking, or hair twisting. They're sometimes called "control patterns" because they can stop or reduce the tension caused by bad feelings. Do you come from a family of nail-biters? It can be a learned habit.

As for getting rid of it, how about willpower? You may bite your nails unconsciously, so try to catch yourself before you do and stop the habit pattern. Substitute a good habit for that bad habit (toothpick, gum, something mouth satisfying). Carry nail clippers and a file to keep your nails neat. And, hey, I'll bet anything there's a 12-step Nail Biters Anonymous out there somewhere.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Elizabeth Bishop: peer of Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath

She wished to be judged on the basis of her talent, not the fact that she was a woman

Hey, Matt:

I have this really gross habit of biting not only my fingernails but the skin around them. I've been doing this since I was a little kid and have been told it's a "nervous habit." But I'm not really a nervous person. I just enjoy doing it. Why am I doing this? Is it common? I know bout that stuff parents put on kids' fingers to get them to stop, but it'll never work with me. I'll just get used to the taste.

-- Chewy, the net

By now you're in a pretty exclusive club, Chewy. Surveys say only about 5% of adults bite their nails. Virtually all of them started as little tads; 28 to 33% of kids bite their nails at some time. Adolescents 44%. And 20% to 30% of young adults. You may not be "nervous," but from what's known about the activity, it likely started as a tension-reducer and now has mutated into a full-blown habit. It may serve no calming purpose now, but it did at one time. (Although nail-biting certainly calms you down when you have the uncontrollable urge to bite your nails.) It's an activity like lip chewing or knuckle cracking, or hair twisting. They're sometimes called "control patterns" because they can stop or reduce the tension caused by bad feelings. Do you come from a family of nail-biters? It can be a learned habit.

As for getting rid of it, how about willpower? You may bite your nails unconsciously, so try to catch yourself before you do and stop the habit pattern. Substitute a good habit for that bad habit (toothpick, gum, something mouth satisfying). Carry nail clippers and a file to keep your nails neat. And, hey, I'll bet anything there's a 12-step Nail Biters Anonymous out there somewhere.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's vinyl records surge, but why?

A talk with owners of Re-animated, Folk Arts, Lou's, Beat Box
Next Article

A fine time for Phở Hóa

Lessons learned from eating the same thing again and again
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close