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6 Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors in Children

Body focused repetitive behaviors (or BFRB’s) in children describe a group of frequently repeated behaviors that injure the body but are not classified as self-harm behaviors. They are clustered together with other OCD behaviors. The disorder develops in early puberty and initially affects both sexes equally. In adulthood, more females are afflicted.

With time the behaviors may become so ingrained they occur automatically. Both environmental and genetic factors can contribute to the onset of these behaviors. Stress can also play a role. Some of the behaviors if left untreated can lead to physical or social complications.  Approximately 2.5-percent of the population or 2 million children and adults are affected by this disorder…


1. Nail Biting

Also known as onychophagia; compulsive nail biting can result in varying degrees of nail bed damage. This in turn can lead to bleeding, sores, pain and infection.

Closely related to this disorder is dermatophagia, in which an individual bites the skin inside their cheeks and around their nails. Sores and infection can result.


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