#1 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (333 posts) -

Hello folks.

I've been struggling with chewing my nails as a nasty habit since I was a little kid. I have difficulty controlling myself, and I chew on my nails due to boredom, stress, hunger, etc. I recently decided that I wasn't going to chew my nails anymore. I've since reduced the amount of nail chewing I've done; whenever I got the urge, I'd trim my nail with a nail cutter.

Unfortunately, recently the urge to chew has come back stronger. I chewed up two of my nails in the past day or two, and I'm afraid I'm going back into the habit.

My question is if anybody has any suggestions or tips that would help me reduce my nail biting? Bitterant is not an option, I refuse to put that on my fingers. I've tried chewing gum before, but that option doesn't work for me cuz I honestly don't like gum at all.

Any tips you fine folks might have would be awesome. Thanks in advance :)

#2 Posted by Coafi (1433 posts) -

Apply poison on them.

#3 Posted by bibamatt (1086 posts) -

I have this problem too. I bite my nails REALLY badly, particularly when I'm driving(?!).

#4 Edited by Milkman (16237 posts) -

I have this same problem. It gets the worst when I'm sitting in a class or something just listening (or "listening") to someone speak. I find the best solution for me is to just keep my hands busy somehow. As long as I'm writing or typing or just fiddling with something (insert dick joke here), I don't have the urge to bite them.

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#5 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (333 posts) -

I stopped biting them a few weeks back and let them grow out. The way I did this was, the first day I recorded the amount of times I put my fingers in my mouth (either to chew on the tip of my finger, which I do sometimes, or the nail itself). Then, each day from then on, I made it my goal to reduce the amount of times I bit it by one. It helped me get started, but now I'm starting to relapse :[

#6 Posted by BaneFireLord (2881 posts) -

If you don't mind potentially having to field some awkward questions, put varnish on them. It tastes terrible and should do the trick.

#7 Posted by egg (1339 posts) -

wear gloves

#8 Edited by mandude (2667 posts) -

Take up smoking.

Any time you feel the urge to bite your nails, light up a cigarette instead.

#9 Posted by Wicked_Wumpus (169 posts) -
@mandude said:

Take up smoking.

Any time you feel the urge to bite your nails, light up a cigarette instead.

This. Then when you come back for more advice we'll tell you to try chewing your nails instead.

#10 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7240 posts) -

If you care about hygiene, try remembering that biting your nails is worse than licking a toilet seat. If you don't care about hygiene, rub shit under your nails.

#11 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Pull out your fingernails

#12 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

I somehow mustered the power of will to just stop doing it one day, and I haven't really turned back. Two suggestions:

  1. Try going cold turkey on it. If you don't bite them, stop yourself and keep an iron will about it, you should eventually not feel like you need to any more. It's just like giving up anything, I suppose, it'll take time and be annoying. Alternatively:
  2. Bite your nails so much that you start getting ingrowns and start bleeding out of the end of your fingertips to the point where you can't pick anything up properly. That's incentive, if nothing else is.

Stay strong, my brother!

#13 Posted by WEB_War4 (111 posts) -

I bought some pricey German steel nail clippers and basically stopped biting my nails with that. I was able to keep them nice and curved with no hangnails, which was my main motivation to bite. My thinking was, I'll buy a pricey clipper set and keep that with me to cut whatever I would have bit before.

#14 Edited by Zleunamme (610 posts) -

As long as your finger nails don't rip off easily and puss drips out when applying pressure to your fingers. You'll be okay.

#15 Edited by cclemon36 (179 posts) -
#16 Posted by granderojo (1773 posts) -

#17 Posted by Virago (2486 posts) -

The trick is to repattern. Just like any habit, you have to make a conscious effort to switch to a new response, and slowly the old habit subsides. Since you've been doing it for awhile, it'll take some time. Since it's a hand to mouth issue, try chewing gum, small candies, rubbing your lips together while tapping your fingers plus deep breaths - anything that uses hands and mouth simulataneously but not touching. Then you can step back to just mouth or just fingers (pencil twirling, nail cleaning, bubble-gum-blowing) until you ween yourself off.

#18 Posted by ShockD (2381 posts) -

Apply bitter nail polish at the tips of the nails.

#19 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (333 posts) -

Lol, I really don't wanna use bitterent or anything. It's weird, I actually haven't really chewed my nails at all other than one time where I slipped up and bit my nail. Most of the time I clip my nails before they get long enough to chew, and that's really helped. Plus I had a friend comment and say she was proud of me for not chewing my nails, so that made me a little more determined not to chew them.

Now I just hafta work to stop chewing my cuticles and tips of my fingers. Not as serious, but I chew the shit outta them :/

#20 Edited by Krullban (991 posts) -

@rpgee said:

I somehow mustered the power of will to just stop doing it one day, and I haven't really turned back. Two suggestions:

  1. Try going cold turkey on it. If you don't bite them, stop yourself and keep an iron will about it, you should eventually not feel like you need to any more. It's just like giving up anything, I suppose, it'll take time and be annoying. Alternatively:
  2. Bite your nails so much that you start getting ingrowns and start bleeding out of the end of your fingertips to the point where you can't pick anything up properly. That's incentive, if nothing else is.

Stay strong, my brother!

I've been doing number 2 so much that when I bleed, it doesn't even hurt anymore, and it really makes me angry, and I want to stop.

#21 Posted by Fredchuckdave (4504 posts) -

I bite my nails to trim them but rarely do so with any frequency thereafter; occasionally I do this in front of people and am amused that it makes me seem as though I was nervous when I actually wasn't; an interesting way to fuck with people.

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#22 Posted by panvixyl (325 posts) -

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

#23 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

This.

And on a more humorous note, this:

@panvixyl said:

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

#24 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4037 posts) -

Dip them in Tabasco.

#25 Posted by crusader8463 (14327 posts) -

Stick the ends of your fingers in your bum and don't wash them off. Every time you put them to your mouth to bite you will smell the poop and turn away.

#26 Posted by Demoskinos (13926 posts) -

Dip them in Tabasco.

That would just make your fingers delicious tasting. Id just want to put them in my mouth more.

#27 Posted by fox01313 (5034 posts) -

Clear fingernail polish works at least long enough to break the habit.

#28 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -

Paint your nails with chili oil. Worked wonders for me.

#29 Posted by UitDeToekomst (662 posts) -

i knew a kid in high school who had a major problem with nail-biting. His mother ended up wrapping Scotch tape around his fingertips to keep him from chewing on them. I suppose mentioning this could be considered advice if you don't go out in public much.

#30 Edited by Icemael (6271 posts) -

I've never been a nail chewer, but I did use to pick them for many years. Then, after over a decade of doing it, I stopped. At first I had no idea why, as I hadn't made an effort to stop and didn't even realize that I no longer did it until I noticed that for the first time in ages my nails had grown long enough that I actually needed to use a nail clipper on them. Later I realized that what had happened was I had started drumming with my fingers, and as the drumming increased my nail picking decreased. So I guess that's one way of going about it: replacing the habit with something else (don't know if it'll be as effective if you try to do it consciously).

One of my older brothers also used to bite or chew his nails in his youth, don't remember which. Our dad made him wear gloves for a week, which actually worked.

#31 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4037 posts) -

@blu3v3nom07 said:

Dip them in Tabasco.

That would just make your fingers delicious tasting. Id just want to put them in my mouth more.

Well then, put them in here!

#32 Posted by Ducksworth (656 posts) -

This tobasco/chilli on the fingers sounds like a bad idea. I'm sure at one point you'll forget that you have it on your fingers and do something like rub your eyes.

#33 Posted by Vivek (511 posts) -

@angre_leperkan439: Pressure points are the answer. I used to chew on my nails all day and then I stopped after realising that if I press the tip of my index finger and thumb together the irritation to chew my nails goes away.

Also make a rule of not putting your hands near your face. Its bad for your skin (dirty hands, clean face) and also shows a sign that you are unconfident whether you mean to or not.

Like any subconscious habit, the best way is will power and making yourself aware when you are doing it.

#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (34674 posts) -
"Try cutting your hands off."

#35 Edited by BestUsernameEver (4866 posts) -

@coafi said:

Apply poison on them.

#36 Posted by Canteu (2814 posts) -

Weird. I've always bitten my nails simply to keep them short. Don't think I've used nail clippers in my life, but I've never had problems with biting them due to boredom or having them hurt or whatever.

#37 Posted by SmilingPig (1337 posts) -

Here is a graphic representation of what you can do to stop your nasty habit...or too had taste to it anyway.

#38 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (333 posts) -

Haha, your guy's suggestions are awesome.

An update; I still chew on them occasionally, but for the most part I clip them before I bite part of the nail off. That, for me, is improvement. I haven't seen much improvement in the appearance of my nails unfortunately, since I clip them when they're long enough for me to chew on (which isn't very long)

For any still struggling; lots of good tips, it honestly just takes a strong will. The times I find myself chewing on them is when I'm distracted, such as watching TV. So make sure to pay attention during those times and you'll fix the issue.

#39 Posted by Intro (1191 posts) -

I do it too, but I don't care to stop and I'm not worried about it.

Much harder to quit than smoking tobacco, for me.

#41 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3034 posts) -

@panvixyl said:

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

Solved.

#42 Posted by T1000 (45 posts) -

Chew some gum.

#43 Posted by xyzygy (9641 posts) -

I have this problem too. My nails are freakish, I've never seen another person with nails as bad as mine. Ever. I do it when I'm watching a show or when I'm nervous. I've been doing it ll my life so my nails kind of grew in really fucked.

#44 Posted by Sanity (1853 posts) -

They drew first blood, let em have it.

#45 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (333 posts) -
@dudy80 said:

They drew first blood, let em have it.

Are you implying I go on a rampage and shoot my nails? I have no desire to be locked up in prison till America needs a hero to fights commies, sir; no idea how long I'll be in prison for.