I used to paint my nails when big tests were coming up. Not just because it was a great way to put off studying (see also: cleaning my room, cooking elaborate meals, reading vaguely educational Wikipedia articles), but because having a coat of toxic chemicals would stop me from ruthlessly biting my nails down to quick while studying and taking an exam.
I’m a nervous studier–I fidget, pull my hair, and chew anything from pen caps to entire packs of gum (not all at once), but sadly enough, my preferred bad habit is conveniently right at my fingertips. My compulsion is so bad that I’ll do it until my fingers hurt and bleed, and also look gross. My front teeth are actually worn away a little bit where I chew things–the constant friction has made a little divot in my incisors (even though fingernails come in at a 2.5 on the Moh’s hardness scale and teeth are a 5, the things you learn from Wikipedia). And it’s just a nasty habit. So, things I found on the internet that will hopefully scare me off my keratin kick:
1) Onychophagia is listed in the DSM-4 as a behavior in OCD.
2) Nail-biting can give you pinworms, aka Enterobius vermicularis, which parasite you and crawl out your butt when you sleep to lay eggs. Get eggs under your fingernails and chew them to re-infect yourself. Luckily I generally try not to consecutively touch my butt and then my mouth but still, that’s pretty gross.
3) Biting your nails can be considered pica, an eating disorder where people eat non-food items like ice, dirt, sand, paint chips, and other things. Pica can sometimes be a symptom of a nutrient deficiency (usually iron). What do you know, I actually do have iron deficiency anemia, and when I was little I used to crunch grains of sand and eat literally anything and everything. Thank you, internet.
4) This is not from the internet, but one drawback of being a nasty nailbiter: I can’t open some things. Or oranges. Or peel the tape off packages. Or give myself a really satisfying backscratch. It just doesn’t feel the same…
5) And lastly, this picture. GAHHHHH
Until next week kiddos!