New report suggests nail biting may be clinical disorder

ARLINGTON, VA – Good news for all you nail biters out there. Turns out your dirty little habit might not just be gross; it may be a legitimate medical condition. According to the American Psychiatric Association, nail biting and other “pathological grooming” habits could be a form of obsessive-compulsive-disorder.

The APA’s new statistical manual of mental disorders, due out early next year, will include nail biting as an O.C.D. which is actually a good thing. Official classification in the statistical manual will help open the door for research and drug-company testing.

But all classifications aside, face it; nail biting is a pretty nasty habit.

“For example, you can get warts and easily spread them from finger to finger from nail biting,” says Dr. Neal Schultz. “And then you need to get them removed surgically. Or the herpes virus which many people carry harmlessly in their saliva. With the help of nail biting can cause cold sores on the tips of your fingers.”

That doesn’t mean everyone who bites their nails is O.C.D. only those cases that meet a certain level of “clinical severity” would qualify. Which could mean another pill to put in your medicine cabinet alongside your Prozac.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure yet for everyone.

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