Onychophagia revisited

Was doing a little WordPress tag surfing today, based on searches that have brought people to this blog. (I’m continually surprised what brings people here…and what doesn’t.)

Via a tag surf on the keyword “onychophagia” that brought me to overcome your inner klutz, I came across Onychophagia.com, a site that offers information to help people stop biting their nails. If for no other reason, it was worth a visit simply to read the following:

Studies seem to suggest a higher incidence of onychophagia amongst people with higher intelligence. Possibly as a result of such people being given more responsibilities and consequential anxiety. A caution: There is no evidence that biting your nails makes you more intelligent however, so there remains every reason to discourage the habit!

‘Cos you know that someone somewhere would have taken the first part of that the wrong way, resulting in the need for the subsequent warning. 😀 Right now there’s not much more of a reason to visit the site. They offer some decent tips that may work for people, but their forum is currently giving SQL errors so who knows if there actually is a viable community there.

Here’s my problem. I’m an orally-fixated individual. If I were to make use of the products to stop me biting my nails — foul-tasting liquids, gloves, etc. — without dealing with the issues that are making me bite my nails in the first place, all that will happen is that I will change to a different oral activity under stress. Overeating, lip biting, pen chewing, smoking, drinking. I’m already finding myself chewing on my lip more and more. But I *am* finding that buffing my nails as they grow is somewhat of a deterrent — buffing (you know, using those four-stage buffing tools that puts a high gloss shine on the nails) deters because it makes the nail harder, and thus harder to bite. Harder to bite = less satisfying. It also serves to remind me that I really don’t want to bite them.

I’ve bitten both thumbnails since I last wrote, but not as far down as I would ordinarily so I take that as a success. The two nails on the left hand that I’d bitten a few weeks ago are very slow to grow. One of the side effects of long-term nail biting is that your nails tend to be kind of soft, extremely so at the beginning of the growing process in particular, when normal nails are still benefiting from contact with the nail plate. But if you can get past that stage to the point where buffing helps strengthen the nail, then you’re going to find it easier to let them keep growing.

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