3 Ways to Stop Biting Fingers

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3 Ways to Stop Biting Fingers
3 Ways to Stop Biting Fingers

Finger biting is done when you feel anxious or bored. Just like biting your lip or fingernails, you do this subconsciously when you need to express what you're feeling. If you want to break the habit of biting your finger, you can try using a bitter-tasting nail polish or a technique to divert this urge to stop it. For some, this finger-biting habit is linked to a disorder called dermatophagia, which is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. If this is what you are experiencing, you should seek professional help to help you stop biting your fingers.


Method 1 of 3: Using Techniques to Break the Habit

Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 1
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 1

Step 1. Learn to anticipate when you will bite your finger

If this habit is fairly new, start by thinking about when you started biting your fingers. Find out what kind of feeling prompted you to do it. By being aware of what you're doing, you may be able to stop yourself before you do. So the next time you start to put your finger in your mouth, try to stop and think.

  • Ask yourself how you feel when you lift your finger to your mouth. You are most likely feeling anxious or bored. Other signs of anxiety include shortness of breath, a faster heart rate, and sweating.
  • When you feel the same feelings of boredom or anxiety, you will realize what is going on. You will be able to lower your finger before biting it.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 2
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 2

Step 2. Cover the nails with plaster

If you're having trouble keeping yourself from biting your finger, try putting a bandage on your fingertip. Place a bandage on each fingertip to close it. Wear a bandage all day so that every time you try to bite, your mouth will fill with the bandage.

  • The unpleasant taste of the bandage, as well as the unsightly appearance of the bandage on each finger, can help you get rid of this habit.
  • For a better option for appearance, try using transparent tape. You can also try wrapping only the tips of the fingers you bite the most.
  • You can also wear gloves to cover your fingers.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 3
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 3

Step 3. Apply nail polish that tastes bitter

This method is great for nail biters and finger biters. Look for bitter-tasting nail polish, also known as "nibble inhibitors". Apply nail polish to your fingernails. Apply enough polish and let it cover the skin around the nail as well. When you put your fingers in your mouth, the unpleasant taste will make you discouraged from taking a bite.

  • You can also try bitter-tasting foods like vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Or you can try rubbing your fingertips into a mixture of coconut oil and paprika powder. But don't let your eyes touch.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 4
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 4

Step 4. Keep your fingers and mouth busy

If your fingers and mouth are busy, you can't do this bad habit either. Keeping your fingers and mouth busy is also known as a "competitive response technique." After using this technique for a few weeks, the urge to bite your fingers should go away.

  • To keep your mouth busy, try chewing gum, eating hard candy, or carrying a water bottle that you can drink every few minutes.
  • To keep your fingers occupied, try drawing, knitting, interlacing the fingers of both hands or sitting on top of your fingers.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 5
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 5

Step 5. Try securing one finger at a time

Some finger-biters find it easier to focus on securing one finger at a time. Choose a finger that you are most likely to bite. Try to focus on refraining from biting the finger. You may bite the other finger, but the finger must be secured. After a week or two, you will notice a difference in how it feels to secure just one finger.

  • Your secure finger won't swell, bleed or hurt. It will look healthy when compared to the other fingers.
  • Seeing this difference can be motivation to stop biting your whole finger.
  • Try to secure the other fingers one at a time until you stop biting them completely.

Method 2 of 3: Using Stress Releasing Techniques

Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 6
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 6

Step 1. Try the progressive muscle relaxation method

This is a physical technique you can use to deal with stress and distract from the urge to bite your finger. When you start to feel anxious in a situation, try this technique. This technique is also great when you feel bored.

  • Start by tensing your arm muscles as tightly as you can. Inhale as you do this. Hold the muscle tension for five seconds.
  • Exhale and relax the muscles. Hold this relaxed state for 15 seconds.
  • Tense the other muscle and inhale for five seconds. You can tense your back muscles, abdomen, thighs, calves, and so on. Then exhale and relax for 15 seconds.
  • Continue until you have tensed and relaxed all of the major muscle groups. The desire to bite the finger was reduced. If not, repeat this process. You may need to work on several muscle groups for ten minutes or so.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 7
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 7

Step 2. Practice breathing techniques

Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a well-known stress relief technique. Studies show that this technique can be used to break many types of bad habits. When you feel the urge to bite your finger, use these techniques:

  • Sit or stand straight with your shoulders and head held high.
  • Inhale slowly and controlled to fill the abdomen. Your stomach should move forward as you inhale. If only your chest is moving, your breath is too short and you need to focus on taking even more deep breaths.
  • Release the breath and allow your stomach to be pulled in. Continue to do this deep breathing for at least five minutes or until the urge to bite your fingers has subsided.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 8
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 8

Step 3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state in which the mind is completely focused on the present moment. It is easy for us to be distracted because we are bored or have thoughts that make us anxious. If your mind is really in the present moment, it's less likely that you'll bite your finger unknowingly. Practice this mindfulness as often as possible and it will get easier with time.

  • When you feel anxious thoughts starting to arise, try to focus on your physical senses. Think about what you are seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling at this moment.
  • Continue to focus on the present moment until the urge to bite your nails disappears. If you're having a hard time keeping your mind going, try looking down at your fingers and straightening them.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 9
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 9

Step 4. Try alternative treatments

If you bite your finger because of anxiety problems, alternative treatments may be the answer for you. Try consulting alternative health therapies to find out what treatment is best for you. Here are some popular choices:

  • acupuncture. This is an ancient Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into several areas of the body. Some studies suggest that acupuncture can be a helpful treatment for anxiety problems.
  • Hypnosis. In this treatment, a hypnotist goes deep into your subconscious and takes the necessary steps to overcome the anxiety that is haunting you.
  • Meditation and yoga. Studies show that the practice of meditation and yoga helps to further recognize the body and deal with the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety problems.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 10
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 10

Step 5. Try making changes in your lifestyle

Some lifestyle habits can make the anxiety you feel so bad that you may even have the urge to bite your finger. Overcoming this anxiety problem by making some simple changes can go a long way in getting rid of this bad habit. Try doing some of the things below:

  • Eat healthy food. Studies show that whole grains, almonds, maca root and blueberries can help with anxiety. Avoid foods that contain lots of refined sugar.
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption. Both contain substances that can make anxiety problems worse.
  • Exercise regularly to release endorphins which can reduce anxiety.
  • Getting enough sleep is another important thing to reduce anxiety.

Method 3 of 3: Seek Professional Help

Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 11
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 11

Step 1. Find out if you have dermatophagia or not

Dermatophagia is a psychological condition similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. If you feel like you can't control your finger biting, you may have this problem. Symptoms of dermatophagia are as follows:

  • Bloody skin. If you have dermatophagia, you bite the skin around the nail so much that it bleeds.
  • There is a change in skin color.
  • Nail damage such as a hangnail or a small piece of skin that has torn from the finger near the nail.
  • The fingertips become callused due to excessive bite.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 12
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 12

Step 2. Seek the help of a therapist

If you have dermatophagia, it's important that you seek help with it. Just like obsessive compulsive disorder, it is very difficult to cure this problem. Make an appointment to see a therapist who knows about this disorder and has experience dealing with it.

  • A therapist can help you determine if the problem is due to anxiety and treat the problem that is causing it.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a therapy that focuses on the relationship between thoughts and behavior. This therapy is very helpful for dealing with anxiety problems.
  • Find a group that can help you, either in the real world or online, as additional help with this problem.
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 13
Stop Biting Your Fingers Step 13

Step 3. You can consider taking the appropriate medication

Make an appointment with a psychiatrist to see if you should take medication or not. Some anxiety disorders can be treated well by medication and psychological therapy. Depending on your problem, a psychiatrist may prescribe one of the following medications:

  • Antidepressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Buspirone
  • Benzodiazepines

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