World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Onychophagia

Article Id: WHEBN0002041015
Reproduction Date:

Title: Onychophagia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Trichotillomania, Dermatillomania, Onychotillomania, Body-focused repetitive behavior
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Onychophagia

Nail biting
Classification and external resources
10 9 307.9

Onychophagia (also onychophagy) or nail biting, is a common oral compulsive habit (sometimes described as a parafunctional activity) in children and adults.

Classification

Nail biting is considered an impulse control disorder in the DSM-IV-R, and is classified under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders in the DSM-5. The ICD-10 classifies it as "other specified behavioral and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence."[1]

Health consequences

Biting nails can lead to broken skin on the cuticle. When cuticles are improperly removed, they are susceptible to microbial and viral infections such as paronychia. Saliva may then redden and infect the skin.[2]

Nail biting is also related to dental problems, such as gingival injury and malocclusion of the anterior teeth.[3][4]

It can also transfer pinworms or bacteria buried under the surface of the nail from the anus region to the mouth.[5][6] When the bitten-off nails are swallowed stomach problems can develop.[4]

Medical literature reports cases of fingernails being severely deformed after years of nail biting.[7]

Treatment

The most common treatment, which is cheap and widely available, is to apply a clear, bitter-tasting nail polish to the nails. Normally denatonium benzoate is used, the most bitter chemical compound known. The bitter flavor discourages the nail-biting habit.[8]

Behavioral therapy is beneficial when simpler measures are not effective. Habit Reversal Training (HRT), which seeks to unlearn the habit of nail biting and possibly replace it with a more constructive habit, has shown its effectiveness versus placebo in children and adults.[9] In addition to HRT, stimulus control therapy is used to both identify and then eliminate the stimulus that frequently triggers biting urges.[10]

Finally nail cosmetics can help to ameliorate nail biting social effects.[11]

Epidemiology

About 30 percent of children between 7 and 10 years of age and 45 percent of teenagers engage in nail biting.[2] The ten fingernails are usually equally bitten to approximately the same degree.[2] It may be underrecognized since individuals tend to deny or be ignorant of its negative consequences, complicating its diagnosis.[12]

Related disorders

Related body-focused repetitive behaviors include dermatillomania (skin picking), dermatophagia (skin biting), and trichotillomania (the urge to pull out hair).[12] Nail biting appeared in a study to be more common in men with eating disorders than those without them.[13] It is also more common among children and adolescents with obsessive–compulsive disorder.[14] Nail biting is an oral parafunctional activity, and may be associated with bruxism (tooth clenching and grinding), and other habits such as pen chewing and morsicatio buccarum (cheek biting).[15]

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.