Nail Biting

What Causes Nail Biting?

Nail biting can have various causes, just like most other symptoms.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose nail biting, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "nail biting" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
jumpiness
regular nightmares
being serious about life
frequent difficulty falling asleep
occasional racing thoughts
occasionally feeling unusually cold
unsound sleep
poor ability to relax
regular bizarre dreams
past obsessive compulsive disorder
being anxious/nervous
mild facial burning/tingling
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of nail biting:
Cause Probability Status
Anxiety 93% Confirm
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 69% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Fingernail/Toenail Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about nail biting:
Do you bite your nails?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Sometimes a little, but my nails look quite normal
→ Moderately - they are bitten back to the nail bed
→ Severely - my nails are deformed or mostly gone
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate minor nail biting, moderate nail biting or severe nail biting, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Anxiety

Nail biting can be a sign of persistent anxiety.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Nail biting or picking has been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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