Community member Connie Rogers wrote TheDoctors.com and asked them to feature cures and remedies for compulsive nail biting.
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How to Quit Biting Your Nails
Carol: Hi doctors! My name is Carol, and I've been biting my nails since I was a kid. I tried to stop, and nothing seems to work. I am so embarrassed by these hands. Can you help me stop biting my nails? Thanks doctors.
Dr. Travis Stork: Please, a warm welcome for Carol. Thanks for being here to talk about it. Icky the fingernail habits?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: Right. And, what you're complaining about is so common. It’s really a stress reliever. That’s what a lot of women do when they are -- a lot of men, too. When they’re biting their nails, it’s just they’re trying to relieve stress. If you have something like on your nails that you want to pull out, it’s just it keeps going so keeping them -- keeping your hands and fingers busy so just use a file with you all the time, and you keep them all really well groomed and shaped.
Dr. Travis Stork: Does it calm you to chew your nails?
Carol: Sometimes, I'm doing it unconsciously when I drive --
Dr. Lisa Masterson: So, if you do things like that, keep your hands busy, keep your nails in good shape because then you won't find things. And then also, if you get a manicure, if you pay that money, you're not going to mess it up. I’ll tell you, I will not go bite my nails once I get a manicure done.
So what we’re also going to do is give you manicure kit from Tweezerman. The other thing that’s really helpful, and actually you do it with kids a lot, right as a pediatrician, is this Control-it. It’s a bitter stuff that you put it on your nail and so when you go to bite them, it tastes icky.
Dr. Travis Stork: Have you ever tried that?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: So, the -- factor.
Carol: Long time ago.
Dr. Jim Sears: I’d recommended this a lot. I've never actually tried it.
Dr. Lisa Masterson: But when you go through like one of these jars a week so you're supposed to just keep putting it on. Again, it’s going to keep you busy, and then when you go at it, it’s going to keep you from --
Dr. Drew Ordon: Is it for thumb sucking, too?
Dr. Jim Sears: Yeah, and -- let me see. Oh yes, but oh yeah, that’s pretty nasty.
Dr. Travis Stork: That may work. I dare you see this --
Dr. Jim Sears: One strategy, you might just ask some of your friends and loved ones, “Hey, would you point out when I'm biting my nails so that I can just -- just being aware of it might stop.” It might help stop you, and sometimes, other strategies, keeping your mouth occupied with gum, tooth picks, things like that or maybe put some tape on your -- or transfer a taper on your nails, a band-aid, and if you have to, you can wear a pair of gloves or something.
Dr. Lisa Masterson: Maybe at home, when you like them.
Dr. Jim Sears: You know.
Dr. Travis Stork: We want to follow your progress so we’re going to give you this kit, and hopefully, you can break the nail biting habit once and for all. Thanks for sharing.
Carol: Thank you.
Dr. Travis Stork: Good luck today. And, I want to thank our web team-- Tony Rogers for actually suggesting the topic. So, Connie we’re going to send you some helpful tips as well.