Body-focused repetitive behavior disorder is characterized by body-focused repetitive behaviors (eg, nail biting, lip biting, cheek chewing) and attempts to stop the behaviors.
Body-focused repetitive behavior disorder is an example of another specified obsessive-compulsive and related disorder (see Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)). Patients with this disorder repeatedly engage in body-focused activities (eg, nail biting, lip biting, cheek chewing).
Some patients engage in these activities somewhat automatically (ie, without full awareness); others are more conscious of the activity. The behaviors are not triggered by obsessions or concerns about appearance but may be preceded by a feeling of tension or anxiety that is relieved by the behavior, which is often also accompanied by a feeling of gratification.
Severe nail biting or nail picking (onychotillomania) can cause significant nail deformities (eg, washboard deformity, or habit-tic nails) and subungual hemorrhages.
To meet diagnostic criteria, patients must typically
Treatment includes drugs (eg, SSRIs) and cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is similar to that for trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder—see Treatment) and excoriation disorder (see Treatment).
Last full review/revision March 2014 by Katharine A. Phillips, MD; Dan J. Stein, MD, PhD
Content last modified March 2014