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Nervous Habits in Children: Homeopathic Approach

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Nervous Habits in Children: Homeopathic Approach

4 min read


Can ongoing nervous habits potentially be harmful to children? How to break the habit? This article focuses on the homeopathy approach to the same.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At July 24, 2018
Reviewed AtAugust 16, 2023


Nail biting, thumb sucking, nose picking, twirling hair, pulling hair, and grinding teeth are some nervous habits commonly present in children. These are caused by a mental disorder. Children's nervous habits may be their way of relaxing or retreating momentarily from pressures and expectations into their world. It can be due to a mini time-out, a chance to do their own thing. Habits that are repeated over and over again can become a nervous habit in children. Eventually, the child will perform these actions without their knowledge. You have to put a roadblock in the nerve pathway where the habit is stored to break the habit.

What Are The Types Of Nervous Habits In Children and How To Stop It By Homeopathic Approach?

1. Nail Biting:

The other name for nail biting is onychophagia. Those who feel compelled to bite nails and fingertips can vary in severity from mild and occasional to persistent nail-biting. Severe nail-biting is a long-term problem that causes nail deformity and infections around the nail bed.

It is common in all age groups, and the exact cause is unknown. It may be due to a troubled relationship with a mother during childhood.

Nail-biting is a symptom of anxiety or a nervous habit. It is induced by nervousness, stress, or boredom and can be associated with an emotional and psychological problem.

What Can We Do For Nail Biting?

Long-term Goal: To stop this behavior, our initial response should be to remove the worries; that is, before dealing with this problem, know the underlying cause for worry.

Do Not Punish the Child: Motivation is important to stop nail-biting.

Boredom: When a child is bored or listless, engaging in this habit can help stimulate and keep them alert.

  • Remove the stress.

  • Help the child whenever they want to stop because if a child's friends are teasing them, they need your help.

  • Cut the nails short.

  • Coat the fingers with neem oil or something that has a bad taste.

  • Wear gloves.

  • Keep your hands busy.

What Are The Homeopathic Remedies for Nail Biting?

For irritability under the nails causing nail bite: Ammonium Bromate.

Nail-biting in children: Natrum Muraticum.

Nail-biting and enuresis in children: Sanicula.

2. Thumb Sucking:

When children are tired, bored, or feel discomfort, they show the habit of thumb sucking. It makes the child feel comforted, stimulated, or put to sleep.

Naturally, babies have a sucking reflex that makes them put the thumb into the mouth.

Thumb-sucking babies feel more secure.

The Effects of Thumb Sucking:

  • Make them feel comfortable.

  • Sucking causes the baby to be calm.

  • During infancy, thumb sucking is not a problem, but it may cause some speech disability. But, when a child continues this habit after his or her milk teeth have fallen, it can interrupt the normal alignment of the teeth.

  • In later stages or in the adult stage, there is a high chance of replacing the thumb with cigarettes, alcohol, or binge eating.

What Are The Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking Habits?

Usually, children 2 to 4 years of age have coping skills like the development of language skills. But, in some kids, thumbsucking is harder to kick, which leads to problems for their growing months.

  1. Try to limit the time that the child sucks his thumb.

  2. Talk to the child about the demerits of his or her thumbsucking habit.

  3. Do not prohibit the child if he tries to suck his thumb after being hurt or injured.

Homeopathic Treatment For Thumb Sucking:

Calcarea Oxalica, Calcarea Phos, Chamomilla, Nat Mur, Theridium, Sulphur, and Veratrum alb are indicated according to the overall mental and physical symptoms.

3. Nose Picking:

Medically it is called rhinotillexomania. The common cause for nose picking is when a person is lost in thoughts or out of sheer boredom. This action is comparable to biting the nails or cuticles or picking at a scab absentmindedly. A bored office worker is often caught picking his nose. People who are caught picking their noses are usually embarrassed. So some pick their noses privately.

Causes for Nose Picking:

  • Curious or bored, which relieves stress or passes the time. It is not present in over anxious children.

  • In children with allergies, there is a flow of mucus and crusting. This gives them the feeling that it is difficult for them to leave their noses alone.

  • Most children give up the habit on their own due to losing interest or because other kids tease them enough to make them stop.

How to Stop Nose Picking Habit?

  1. Nagging or punishment will not help.

  2. Keeping fingers occupied: Give the child a substitute like a rubber ball to squeeze or finger puppets to play with. Teaching the child to blow their nose may also help.

  3. If the child picks the nose until it bleeds and has trouble sleeping, better consult a pediatrician.

4. Hair Twirling and Pulling:

Twirling and pulling hair is a nervous habit and self-soothing behavior. In some cases, hair pulling becomes severe and can cause trichotillomania, the urge to pull hair constantly until it breaks.

Some children eat the hair; this behavior is called trichophagia. This may appear in early childhood as a precursor to hair pulling, with or without hair loss. This habit will stop as they get older. For those who do not, behavior modification helps break the habit. Here, the treatment is usually a type of behavior therapy called habit reversal training. Relaxation of mind and medicines may be part of the treatment.


Infection, skin damage, permanent hair loss, and sometimes due to loss of hair, there can be a problem with self-esteem and body image.

Homeopathic Treatment:

Argentum Nitricum, Lycopodium, Calcarea Carb, Thuja, Natrum Mur, and Arnica.

5. Grinding the Teeth:

Teeth grinding is medically called bruxism. Kids with bruxism grind and clench their teeth occasionally, causing the teeth to get damaged and other oral health complications.

Chronic teeth grinding causes fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Grinding teeth is usually caused by stress and anxiety. This can lead to an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. People with sleep disorders like sleep apnea can also have the habit of grinding teeth.

How to Stop Teeth Grinding?

  1. If stress is causing it, they need a stress counseling program, and relaxation therapy is also required.

  2. Mouthguards and mouth splints can be custom-made to protect the teeth.

  3. It is important to treat and prevent dental problems.

Homeopathic Treatment:

Phytolacca decandra 12c, Melissa officinalis 12c, and Cina.

Frequently Asked Questions


Which Homeopathic Remedy Is Good for Nerve Weakness?

Homeopathic medicines such as Gelsemium are one of the few medications that can treat nerve weakness in a person. They are usually given for motor paralysis to cure symptoms such as dizziness, trembling, and drowsiness. In addition, oxalic acid is given to a person for jerking and shooting nerve pain in different body parts.


Does Homeopathy Treat Neurological Disorders?

Neurological disorders can be treated with homeopathic remedies as they provide a deep cure for such conditions to improve a person’s quality of life. It can treat anxiety and other neurological problems in a person, and homeopathy can prevent loss of function and disability if given on time.


How Can We Stop Biting Our Nails Permanently?

Nail biting is a way to relieve stress or cope with nervousness and anxiety. People can stop nail biting permanently by engaging in other activities when they feel the urge to bite nails. This involves keeping the hand busy so people cannot bite their nails. It can help in breaking the nail-biting habit.


What Is the Root Cause of Nail Biting?

Nail biting is mainly a symptom of a nervous habit or anxiety. A person develops this habit during stress, nervousness, boredom, and other psychological and emotional problems. For example, Nail-biting in childhood can be a reason for troubled relationships with mothers.


Can We Cure Nail-Biting Habit?

The nail-biting habit can be cured by removing the cause of stress or anxiety in a person. Nails can be coated with neem oil or anything that tastes bad. The nails can be cut short, or gloves can be worn to restrict the habit. In addition, a person can involve in activities to keep hands busy and prevent nail-biting.


Is Biting Nails a Mental Disorder?

Biting nails is medically called onychophagia and is categorized as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The nail-biting habit is induced by boredom, nervousness, stress, and other mental health issues that can be psychological or emotional.


What Happens When We Bite Our Nails Too Much?

Biting nails too much is a sign of extreme nervousness and anxiety in a person. Nail biting is a long-term problem and can cause severe infection around the nail bed and deformity. It also causes damage to the tissues around nails, and a person feels sores in the nails.


Can We Prevent Thumb-sucking?

Thumb-sucking can be prevented in the following ways:
- First, identify the triggers that lead to thumb-sucking habits and address the cause to eliminate the practice.
- Using a thumb shield can also help restrict the habit.
- Orthodontic appliances given by dentists can also disrupt the habit of thumb-sucking.
- Positive reinforcement to children by appreciating them when they don't do thumb suck can also prevent the habit.


How Long Does It Take To Break a Thumbsucking Habit?

Breaking thumb-sucking habits in a person usually takes almost six to eight months. However, this can be successfully achieved by using thumb-sucking devices, which help to break the habit. In addition, if a person is motivated to break the pattern, the effectiveness of this treatment also increases.


What Are the Long-Term Effects of Thumbsucking?

The long-term effects of thumb sucking are:
- Overbite.
- Open bite.
- Speech disability.
- Social Issues.


At What Age Does Thumb Sucking Affect Teeth?

Thumb sucking affects the teeth if a child continues the habit even after turning five. Therefore, the condition should be addressed by the parents before the age of three as it can cause various dental issues in the long term. These problems include underbite and overbite, and the child may require dental braces.


When Should We Stop Sucking Our Fingers?

Finger-sucking habit should be stopped by the child naturally somewhere between the age of two to four years. However, if the habit persists beyond five, the treatment options also become limited. Therefore, finger sucking should be addressed during the initial phase of life or before the eruption of permanent teeth in a child.


Which Mental Illness Causes Nose Picking?

Nose picking is medically known as rhinotillexomania. This is a mental illness in which a person compulsively picks their nose and causes self-harm. It is usually a very common habit, but when it becomes an obsessive-compulsive behavior, it is called rhinotillexomania.


What Happens if We Do Not Pick Our Nose?

If a person does not want to pick their nose, the mucus inside the nose gets dry and moves backward instead of moving to the front of the nose. The mucus gets down into the throat via the nasal passage. Therefore, it is essential to nose pick; it can be done with a tissue.
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Dr. Potnuru Srinivaasa Sudhakar
Dr. Potnuru Srinivaasa Sudhakar



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