Mental Disorders

Sometimes, seemingly innocuous behaviors can turn into obsessions. Bad habits such as nail biting or picking at scabs can just be bad habits, or they can turn out to be psychiatric issues. Good habits that normally keep us healthy, such as bathing or hand washing, can turn out to be frustrating obsessions for some individuals. Check out this list of habits that can also be indicators of underlying mental disorders.

8. Nail Biting

Nail Biting

While not all nail-biting indicates a mental disorder, onychophagia is a body-focused repetitive behavior disorder (BFRD) involving chronic, unmanageable biting of fingernails. In these extreme cases of nail-biting, the nail beds and skin around them become ragged, torn, and prone to infection. People with onychophagia may find themselves embarrassed about the appearance of their fingers, but unable to stop the biting. This may lead to feelings of shame and helplessness. Painting the nails with a bitter substance or wearing gloves may help, but severe cases may require cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

7. Hair Pulling

Hair Pulling

Hair pulling does not refer to the class bully pulling the braids of the unwary student at the desk in front of him. Trichotillomania is a BFRD involving chronic, uncontrollable pulling out of a person’s own hair from the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, or other body areas. A person may pull the hair intentionally, for the rush of relief they feel. Others may pull out their hair without even realizing it while engaging in activities such as reading or watching a movie. The noticeable bald patches left behind can cause great embarrassment and a desire to hide the area.


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