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Biting Your Nails and Other Habits That Could Be a Sign of a Serious Problem

24/7 Wall St. Logo By Hristina Byrnes of 24/7 Wall St. | Slide 2 of 17: Nail biting, or onychophagia, is associated with anxiety and stress. The mere act of chewing on the cuticle, soft tissue surrounding the nail, and the nail itself, which, for most people, typically begins in childhood, relieves tension. This bad habit, for which there is no clear or definitive solution, can be masking a mental health problem, such as depression. Medical reviews suggest that 80% of children and more than 50% of parents who bite their nails have a form of a psychiatric disorder, mainly depression. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association included severe nail biting in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as an obsessive compulsive-related condition. A study found that approximately 11% of children and adolescents who bite their nail frequently were also diagnosed with OCD.

1. You bite your nails: Depression or OCD

Nail biting, or onychophagia, is associated with anxiety and stress. The mere act of chewing on the cuticle, soft tissue surrounding the nail, and the nail itself -- which, for most people, typically begins in childhood -- relieves tension. This bad habit, for which there is no clear or definitive solution, can be masking a mental health problem, such as depression. Medical reviews suggest that 80% of children and more than 50% of parents who bite their nails have a form of a psychiatric disorder, mainly depression. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association included severe nail biting in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as an obsessive compulsive-related condition. A study found that approximately 11% of children and adolescents who bite their nails frequently were also diagnosed with OCD.

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