Terrifying Reasons to Stop Nail Biting—for Good

1) How to Stop Biting Your Nails

Convinced you need to quit nibbling? Going cold turkey on biting your nails can be harder than you think, especially if you have been using it as a coping technique since you were a child, says Dr. Walfish. But take heart, it can definitely be done!

At the root of all pathological grooming behaviors is simply a habit and you can change habits with simple behavior modification techniques, she explains. First, you need to start with addressing any underlying mental health issues like chronic anxiety or depression that may be feeding your need to chew, she says.

Second, come up with an alternate, less damaging behavior you can do when you do feel anxious, nervous, or bored, she says. For example, some people like to do something to occupy their fingers like crocheting or playing with a fidget toy.

Third, do something to call your attention to the nail-biting when you’re tempted to do it. Some women get fancy manicures with jewels, acrylic nails and other things that are hard or gross to chew on; others use a pretty ring or bracelet that will catch their eye when they raise their hand to their mouth; while some have found success placing a rubber band around their wrist and snapping it whenever the temptation arises.

Lastly, give yourself a fun reward when you reach one week and one month, bite-free. The trick is to find what motivates you personally, adds Dr. Walfish.

If those tricks don’t help and you still find yourself unable to quit nail-biting, it may have become a full compulsion, she says. In this case, see your doctor as you can use medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two to combat the urges.

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