The Greek term for fingernail chewing is "onychophagy" and is considered in psychology as a substitute action.
Nail biting usually has psychological causes. It is a response to stress and overwork in everyday life or in certain situations, which usually begins at the age of 3-4 years. If a child regularly chews on his nails, parents should take action immediately. It is a sign that the child has difficulties that are deeper. Possible reasons could be school pressure, fear of failure, separation of parents or loneliness. The same applies to adults who chew on their nails regularly and compulsively. The cause is not boredom or habit, but a psychological problem.
What helps against chewing?
The sooner you start treating the problem, the better. Parents should intervene immediately if they realize that their child is doing excessive nail biting. In such a case, parents can only do one thing: recognize where the cause of the chewing lies and find a solution to this problem by, for example, depressing the child, calming it down, or processing a disappointment together. Under no circumstances should you admonish the child over and over again. This will hardly stop the finger nail biting. Adults should also get to the root of their problem as the first step in healing. In which situations do I chew? Where does my fear come from? What is the pressure for me? Only then can one search specifically for a solution of the actual problem. If you can not do it on your own, you should first open yourself to a friend and ask for help.
Tips against finger nail biting:
Tincture: Disgusting fingernail tinctures are often not enough to get rid of the chewing, but the taste deters the chewing a little and makes him more aware of the activity. Such tinctures are available in the pharmacy. Conscious chewing: One should try to perceive the situation in which one chews on the nails again consciously and then to ask: Why am I chewing now? What triggers this reflex in me? It is best to spend a little time pondering such questions rather than ignoring the situation. Artificial nails: A good alternative is artificial gel nails, which do not necessarily have to be long. Here, a layer of gel is placed over the natural nail, which can grow out with your own nail. Chewing on the artificial nails is almost impossible. Cost about 35-70 euros in the nail salon.