Nail biting is predominantly an unconscious behaviour. It is one of the most common of all habits, but, given a strong desire to change, it is also one of the most responsive to habit transformation hypnotherapy.

The causes of nail biting vary from person to person. However, it is commonly accepted that nail biting can be motivated by any of the following: stress / to relieve tension, anxiety / coping mechanism to relieve pent up emotions, low self-esteem, self-punishment, repressed hostility, medical disorder, conditioning behaviour, genetics or just plain habit.

Although boys and girls appear equally prone to the habit in their earlier years, after the age of 10, more boys than girls are nail biters. Research also seems to suggest a higher incidence of nail biting amongst people with higher intelligence, possibly as a result of such people being given more responsibilities and consequential anxiety.

As anyone who bites their nails will tell you, nail biting has distressing physical, social and psychological consequences. Not only can it cause infections of the fingers and the mouth, it’s an embarrassing habit that can reduce a person’s sense of attractiveness, self-worth and confidence.

The reason why most people bite their nails, whether in times of stress, or simply through habit, is essentially the same mechanism as used by overeaters and smokers; that of oral satisfaction. Simply put, oral satisfaction involves putting something (be it a finger nail, a cigarette, chocolate, alcohol, etc) into the mouth to achieve a greater sense of comfort. Believe it or not, much as you do not want to bite your nails, at some level you will be gaining something by performing the habit. Therefore it is important not only to uncover the root cause of the habit and to identify and recondition the triggers, it is also vital to identify and remove any secondary gains attached to performing the habit.

All these issues will be thoroughly explored during the initial consultation.

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