If you’ve come here as a nail biter, looking for an explanation for your habit, we might just have the answers that you’ve been looking for. And, even if you aren’t a nail biter, you’re probably curious as to why millions of people are addicted to doing it, right?
Although there aren’t exact figures and statistics on how many people nibble at their nails, it is estimated that 20-30% of the population do it and women are the worst offenders. It has long been an assumption that people’s nail biting habits are made worse or triggered by stress and anxiety. Many people are not even aware that they are doing it, however, for others who are very conscious of what they are doing, the biting can be even worse because they are embarrassed. This is mainly due to the fact that many people deem the habit as impolite, unsanitary and socially unacceptable behavior.
Although it is true that you are introducing bacteria into your body when nail biting, some of which could make you fall ill, it is not thought of as a particularly harmful or damaging process unless you do it so often to the point that you are breaking the skin, leaving your self susceptible to nasty infections. Unfortunately, nail biting can be extremely addictive with many people struggling relentlessly to stop. There has been many a debate on why people really feel the need to bite their nails but a recent study has suggested that there is a common personality trait shared among people with the habit that you might be surprised to learn…
An interesting study published in ‘Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry’ suggested that people who bite their nails are often perfectionists! This makes sense in many ways as a perfectionist would hate to see a broken or chipped nail, hence the biting action. It also ties in nicely with the anxiety argument because perfectionists tend to get frustrated, impatient and uneasy when things aren’t in a certain way that they like, leading them to have a nibble on their easily accessible nails. They also feel tremendous amounts of pressure over various things. The situation is made significantly worse by the fact that obviously our nails grow back, so, there is always a source to fuel the addiction. Although it makes sense, we found this information to be quite surprising as most people view perfectionists as, well, perfect! So the idea that they would do something viewed as gross by many people is interesting.
Take a look at the video below to hear more about the history of nail biting, some other possible reasons people have the habit and a simple solution that could assist you in kicking your addiction!