Medical experts are preparing to change the designation of nail biting from ¿not otherwise classified,¿ to ¿obsessive compulsive disorder¿
Millions of people around the world suffer from a self-mutilating and often painful addiction to biting their nails, which can be harder to quit than smoking cigarettes, but is often overlooked as a relatively benign habit.
Medical experts are now taking a closer look at the addiction and have decided to change its classification from a mere habit to a full-fledged obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The American Psychiatric Association is preparing to change the designation of nail biting from ‘not otherwise classified,’ to ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’ in its upcoming issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, NBC News reported.
Habits that are commonly associated with OCD include repetitive hand-washing and hair-pulling. The disease is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to such repetitive behaviors.
The occasional chewed nail isn’t an indication of the disorder, medical experts assure.
‘As with hair pulling and skin picking, nail biting isn't a disorder unless it is impairing, distressing, and meets a certain clinical level of severity,’ Carol Mathews, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, told NBC News.
‘That is not the vast majority of nail bitters,’ she said.
Nail chewing is considered severe when the habit becomes destructive – when it impairs use of the hands or leads to repeated infections.
This woman's addiction to biting her nails, right, is to be classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Sometimes a nail-biter’s hands and fingers can become infected, but more often, the habit leads to an increased risk of contracting colds and other illnesses because it encourages the spread of germs from the nails to the lips and mouth.
Nail biters looking to quit their addiction may find they are less inclined to stick their fingers in their mouths if they put lemon juice or hot sauce on their digits.
Former nail biters who quit the habit said it also helps to wrap nails in tape or Band-Aids and to keep their hands well-manicured.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2227357/Nail-biting-bad-habit-Experts-classify-addiction-mental-disorder.html#ixzz2BGrBfuVk
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