Nail biting: research indicates that as many as 1 in 5 adults bite their nails. While the risks of nail biting aren’t as severe as some other neuroses, it remains a common, if annoying, maladaptive daily habit.
Hair pulling (trichotillomania): according to the Trichotillomania Learning Center, this affliction affects two to four percent of Americans. While it is very difficult to stop this behavior, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy can offer significant success in reducing the unhealthy daily habit.
OCD: also known as obsessive compulsive neurosis, this may be the single most notorious manifestation of neurotic daily habits known to man. People who suffer from OCD typically engage in excessive repetitive behaviors such as:
Handwashing:Touching objects a certain number of times
Touching something with the opposite hand if they’ve already touched it with one hand
Checking the stove to make sure it’s off
Checking doors to make sure they’re locked
Counting in specific patterns
Organizing cans a certain way such as alphabetically
Repeating words or phrases inside their head
Requiring that things be symmetrical or perfectly even
Engaging in these daily habits does not mean you’re doomed to become dysfunctional or that you’re abnormal in some way. Even psychologists and psychiatrists bite their nails sometimes or use ritualized behaviors in order to cope with the stresses of daily life. And surprisingly, when kept in check, neuroticism can actually result in better health. According to Nicholas A. Turiano of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, neurotics with a high level of conscientiousness also experience less inflammation, healthier body weight, and fewer chronic health conditions than other people.
The important thing is to be able to recognize when the habits become self-defeating and start interfering with your obligations, goals, and ambitions. Examine situations in which you feel emotionally insecure, then consider the defenses and habits you use to deal with these situations. Seek help from a psychiatric professional if you feel that the neuroses are becoming a problem in your day-to-day functionality. There is nothing to be ashamed of, most people experience some level of struggle with these behaviors at some point in their lives. Getting help early means having more of your life to enjoy free of the burden of neurotic habits.