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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  • understand what's happening to your body
  • check your overall health status
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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:
regular night terrors
being serious about life
past abortions
frequent sleep paralysis
mild facial burning/tingling
occasional rapid, shallow breathing
regularly feeling unusually cold
occasional chest tightness
poor ability to relax
frequent difficulty falling asleep
being anxious/nervous
... and more than 10 others

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 96% Confirm
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 61% 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:

Nail biting can be a sign of persistent anxiety.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)
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