Is There Hope for an Extreme Nail-Biter!?

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Lisa is a 54-year-old mom, and she’s been biting her nails since she was 2 years old. Her nails are gnawed down way past the tips of her fingers, halfway to the nail bed.

To hide the problem, she applies fake nails every day, but she finds herself chewing them off after work and then she chews the exposed real nails. “By the end of the day, I’ve bitten everything that can be bit,” she confesses. “It hurts so bad.”

Watch: Deadly Nail-Biting Habit

Lisa’s dentist has warned her that her bottom teeth are caving in due to her chronic biting. “I give myself pain, and I think to myself I probably deserve it.”

Psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow comes out to meet Lisa, who is in tears. “I think I’m crying because I’m so embarrassed,” she tells him.

“You matter!” Rosie Mercado assures her. Dr. Dow adds, “Anxiety disorders are very treatable. There will be a day when you will not be a nail-biter anymore.”

He recommends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Lisa must learn her triggers. She says she mostly feels the urge when she’s worried—and “Everything has to be perfect,” she admits, so she worries most of the time.

Watch: Jeff Lewis' Advice for Managing OCPD

Dr. Dow teaches her a breathing technique that anyone can use to relieve anxiety – watch the clip below to learn how to do it!

Dr. Dow offers her therapy to learn coping techniques and to help her realize how valuable and worthy she is.” So you can spend some time on some more valuable things than putting on these fake nails every day!”