Habit Disorders

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What Are Habit Disorders?

Procrastination, nose-picking, hair-pulling, nail-biting, mild substance use or overeating and other such habit disorders are linked together by the presence of repetitive and relatively stable behaviors that seem to occur beyond awareness of the person performing the behavior. Many people have some habits that that create few problems. However, these habits can become disruptive and require treatment when they occur frequently, repetitively and interfere with a person’s functioning.

Habit disorders can be very common; for example, nail-biting occurs in approximately 20% of youth. There is a genetic component to habit disorders. Relatives of individuals with habit disorders are more likely to have habit disorders, OCD, substance use, or mood and anxiety disorders. Learning and environmental factors also contribute to the development of habit disorders. Individuals with habit disorders report an uncomfortable urge that is satisfied by doing a particular behavior. The relief from doing that behavior reinforces them and they are more likely to do the behavior again. Individuals with habit disorders are also more likely to act on these behavioral urges in situations that cause them stress or strong emotions.


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Please contact our Director of Intake Services at 212-595-9559 (ext.1) or 914-385-1150 (ext.1), or fill out the form above, with any questions regarding eligibility, for further information, or to make a referral. If you are a current patient at CBC, please speak to your individual therapist to see how this group may be of added benefit to you.