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June 1951


AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1951;63(6):778-780. doi:10.1001/archderm.1951.01570060106015

Onychotillomania is an uncontrollable desire to pick or tear the nails, usually a manifestation of a compulsion neurosis. It is similar to, but to be differentiated from, onychophagia, the habit of biting the free edge of the nails. Either may result in pronounced nail deformities. The treatment of onychotillomania consists in psychotherapy and the application of occlusive dressings. A fairly extensive review of the literature in English fails to disclose a single recorded case of this disease. In the German literature, Alkiewicz1 refers to the condition.

REPORT OF CASE  A 60 year old woman complained of progressive deformity of several finger and toe nails, of four years' duration. The condition initially involved the nail of the right third finger; subsequently other finger and toe nails were affected. The use of finger nail polish was denied. Incidentally, the patient was left handed. Otherwise the history was noncontributory.Physical examination disclosed

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