Tag Archives: Anxiety disorder

OCD or pathological grooming?


On the way to work this morning, I listened to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about “pathological grooming.” Never heard of this disorder? It’s called biting your fingernails…or other similar things (hair pulling, face picking, nose wiping, etc.). Apparently, the forthcoming DSM 5 will lump it into an OCD diagnosis.

Here’s a couple of interesting tidbits from the 8 minute show.

  • Those with OCD tend to have more of a conscious awareness of unwanted repetitious impulses while pathological groomers may be more thoughtless in their nail-biting
  • Some mice with a specific genetic variant are excessive groomers, to the point of going bald, but not everyone with the gene displays the grooming habits. Thus, genes are surely part of the problem but not all
  • Given the spectrum of OCD symptoms and mental health disorders, maybe nail-biting isn’t that important to eliminate.

So, what do you think? Do you think chronic nail-biting fit better within an anxiety disorder, an addictive disorder, a tic disorder or just merely a silly habit unrelated to any mental health category?

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Filed under Anxiety, Psychology