Nail Biting – A Sign of Perfectionism

People think it as a habit caused when being nervous about something. But it may just not be anxiety. Analysis have showed evidence that people who pick their skin, pull their hair or compulsively bite their nails are often perfectionists. These actions may help ease boredom, irritation and dissatisfaction.

One in 20 suffer  from body-focused repetitive disorders by engaging themselves in behaviours such as biting their nails or plucking out hair until they have damaged their appearance or caused themselves pain. These are related to tic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). These behaviours are very difficult to get over and many people think they simply have a nervous habit and are too weak to overcome it.

A study shows evidence to a theory that perfectionism is at the root of these behaviours rather than anxiety.  A survey of 48 participants, out of which half of them had these disorders and the other half of them didn’t have these disorders, were analysed. They were assessed on their organizational behaviour and ability to regulate their emotions. It was seen that those with the disorders scored same as the organizational perfectionists which indicated a tendency to over-plan, overwork themselves and get frustrated quickly without high levels of activity.

These studies can help therapists treat patients who suffer from the disorders and also these types of perfectionist beliefs and behaviours can be handled with cognitive-behaviour therapy.

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