Nail biting, or, onychophagia usually result in the bad and unhygienic appearance of the hands and might harm both the physical and emotional state of a person. It’s done unconsciously, is out of one’s control and people find it difficult to stop. Basically, it turns out to be an obsession, or, habit. There is not enough research done on the subject but it takes the interest of many experts.
It’s Because Of Your Mother!
I hear you’re thinking of ‘What it has to do with my mother?’. Well, actually it might have. Early research on nail-biting behavior characterized it as possibly due to an impaired mother-child relationship (Oguchi & Miura, 1977). According to some psychoanalytical theories, nail biting is connected with the oral fixation; in other words, you’ve probably had some troubles in your relationship with your mother during the oral stage(when you were 0-18 months) or she either under-feed or over-feed, (breastfeed too long) you. Then, according to these theories, the troubles you had during this stage come up with problems as you grow old such as nail biting, sarcastic personality, smoking, alcoholism, and love of oral sex. So you better check your childhood whether you had some problems regarding those.
2.You might have passed from a stressful period.
People tend to unconsciously bite their nails as a stress-relieving habit. Some researchers have connected nail-biting with stress and anxiety. Most commonly, nail biting has been characterized as a neurotic symptom of anxiety or a nervous habit (Abe & Masui, 1981; Klatte & Deardorff, 1981; Miltenberger & Fuqua, 1985; Pathak & Mishra, 1985)
3. Nail biting can be a sign of a mental and emotional disorder.
Especially when you see scars on one’s finger or a similar severe form, it would need an immediate treatment, preferably from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
4. …Or you’re just bored.
Nail-biting does not necessarily mean a sign of a mental or emotional disorder. Some people might just have been bored and found themselves while biting their nails. In an attempt to determine the function of nail biting, a recent study found that, in young adults, nail-biting occurred under conditions of working on difficult problems or boredom, which may reflect a particular emotional state (Williams, Rose, & Chisholm, 2007). So, avoid diagnosing someone as soon as you see them biting their nails.