Biting their nails, biting the little skin around them, or tearing dead skin from their lips… Many people suffer from these little habits, but some go so far as to injure themselves or create lesions because of these bad habits. . How to fix it easily? Researchers seem to have found the answer.
Biting your nails, biting your lips or tearing off dead skin… “While for many people, these habits are harmless; for others, this behavior can cause damage to the skin, such as spots, scars, sores and it affects their mental health” explains Steffen Moritz, head of clinical neuropsychology in the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Central Europe.
“These habits can be accentuated at certain times in life and those who suffer from more serious disorders, such as trichotillomania (hair pulling) may avoid moments of intimacy with their partner, out of shame for their behavior. “ adds the specialist.
Behaviors that put you at risk of serious infection
This type of behavior can also lead to a more or less serious risk of infection. According to the researchers, cases of sepsis or severe infections have already been identified in connection with these practices.
According to Steffen Moritz, cognitive behavioral therapy is the standard treatment for this type of disorder, but following their research, another easy-to-implement technique could well become the new standard.
A way to calm and soothe the nervous system
For this study, Dr. Moritz and his colleagues recruited a cohort of 268 people with people with a habit of scratching their skin or hair, biting their cheeks or biting their nails, aged 18 to 80. .
Half of the group received a manual outlining the technique devised by Moritz and his team, while the others were told they were on a waiting list for the same program.
The habit replacement technique that Steffen Moritz and his colleagues devised involves gently stroking the skin in a variety of ways: circling the index and middle fingers, crossing the arms and stroking the forearms, or turning the tips of his fingers on the palm of the other hand, among others.
Well in his body, well in his head!
54% improvement in behavior after six weeks
Result: After six weeks, 54% of people in the group using the replacement techniques reported an improvement in their behavior. This could be measured by a scale designed to rate the severity of the repetitive behavior compared to a control group.
However, the study has some important limitations, such as the fact that it was carried out over a fairly short period of time and that the vast majority of participants were white women. “We did not do any face-to-face assessmentsconcludes Dr. Moritz, explaining that many people do not wish to seek the help of a doctor.