Onychotillomania is a compulsive neurosis in which a person picks constantly at the nails or tries to tear them off. It is not the same as onychophagia, where the nails are bitten or chewed or dermatillomania, where skin is bitten or scratched.
It was named by Professor Jan Alkiewicz, a Polish dermatologist.
Some cases have been treated successfully with antipsychotics.
One cheap solution suggested by researchers is to cover the proximal nail fold with a Cyanoacrylate glue. "The mechanism of action for improvement is probably related to the presence of an obstacle to picking."
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