Skin picking, hair pulling and nail biting are all related behaviors. Skin picking, hair pulling and nail biting are labeled as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. People who bite their nails often keep their hands in their pockets. People who bite their nails often feel social embarrassment and experience out-of-control feelings at times. At times they may wonder why they cannot stop biting and they often question whether or not they are sane.

Biting generally happens when nail biters are in one of two modes. Some biters do it in an automatic way, as if they are in a trance and not thinking about what they are doing. Usually they are immersed in some other activity at the same time such as watching TV or working on the computer, etc. For others, the deliberate picking or biting is their main activity at the time, and they will frequently interrupt other activities to engage in it.

There is a strong commonality in the purposes behind hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting. At a very basic level, these symptoms satisfy an urge. Many report an uncontrollable urge to do them. Pulling, picking or biting also seems to deliver a pleasurable or relaxed sensation.

When sufferers feel stressed, pulling, picking or biting has a kind of soothing effect on their nervous systems and reduces levels of stimulation. On the other hand, when they are bored or inactive, they seem to provide a needed level of stimulation to the nervous system. This probably accounts for why so many people who have these habits find it so hard to give them up. It simply "feels good" at the time no matter what the consequences.

Even if you have more than one of these behaviors, don't give up. These negative behaviors can be overcome if you have a sufficient amount of motivation. More important is learning to "de-stigmatize" yourself. You are not crazy, helpless, morally weak or totally out of control, even though you may feel like you are at times. Once you realize that you are just a person who simply happens to have a problem, you can start to make some serious progress.

Skin picking and nail biting are chronic problems, so there is not currently a "cure" but you can find relief if you are willing to work at it. Self-hypnosis for nail biting consists of three parts.

Hypnosis For Nail Biting

To start with, nail biting is a nervous habit. So the first part of the hypnotic therapy is to teach the sufferer how to be more relaxed at all times. To that end, I have found that traditional hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques are very often quite effective. That's because the very essence of hypnosis is relaxation. The sufferer can learn to apply several different methods to enhance both the relaxed state, as well as his/her overall feeling of relaxation and well-being.

The second part of the therapy teaches the individual awareness of this unconscious habit. Suggestions can be given to the subconscious mind to make the consciousness aware that you are bringing your hand towards your mouth. Then you get to consciously decide whether or not you are actually going to bite them.

There are also several other effective hypnosis and NLP techniques. As an example, we can help the client to set up an "Anchor" or trigger so that he/she can momentarily disassociate. This is an effective technique that will effectively relieve the urge.

The third part of the therapy is to eliminate the compulsion to bite. There are hypnotic techniques that actually program the client with a compulsion to not bite his/her nails.

With the biting behavior, being realistic is very important. First off, you have practiced the unwanted habit hundreds or even thousands of times. You must accept that the compulsion to bite your nails will not be overcome in a few weeks.

Secondly, you are fighting the fact that biting your nails feels good to do, and it offers a lot of short-term satisfaction and either stimulation or soothing feelings. It takes time and effort to master, but I believe it is well worth it. My experience has shown a number of techniques to be extremely effective!

Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky, CH is a certified hypnotist specializing in stress related symptoms. He offers Hypnosis CDs that eradicate the nail biting compulsion. Reach him at the Neuro-VISION Self Hypnosis website. Visit his FREE hypnosis article repository, or download his MP3s.