Help with harmful nervous habits. Any advice?

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I have a lifelong habit of biting my lips when under stress. I have tried chewing sugarfree gum, cough drops/mints, being conscious of it and thinking of something pleasant... There is certainly a lot of stress when caring for a loved one, and my habit is actually causing problems with my teeth. My dentist says, "Don't do that." Has anyone had this habit and broken it? It is not only unattractive, but it makes my lips constantly sore. There are certainly worse and more serious habits (addictions), but I wondered if anyone here has had this problem.

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Thanks to all who responded to my question! I have written personally to all of you. At least I have some new things to try and I know some of you have had similar habits. It nice to know that, no matter what the question, someone here will care and try to help!
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I understand a bit about situational depression. My meds help me, so I am a big fan of medical care. Changes in your life circumstances and a spouse's health is upsetting and can tilt your world, and I can personally attest to that. There may be emotional and practical support available for both your husband's health issues and things relating to your life changes. You can google for information about the specific issues involved, let us know, look for a counselor/therapist/social worker. Then follow through on getting some help for yourself to cope. We hope that you will get the support you need. Let us know.
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ProfeChari, check out the Chapstick flavors or similar type of product and buy one that has a flavor you really don't like.... put that on your lips.... it's worth a couple of dollars to try out.
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Put a rubber band around your wrist. Every time you catch yourself biting your lips, twang the rubber band. Aversion therapy, I think it's called. Wish I could say, "Can't hurt. Might help." But really? It hurts!!!
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I also bit my lips and inside of my cheeks. I have been doing this since childhood. My dentist made a bite guard for me because I grind my teeth when asleep. When I'm especially stressed during the day I have worn the guard and it has worked wonders in preventing me from biting the inside of my mouth. Ask your dentist if this might be a solution for you.
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Antidepressants saved life. Amazingly the also stopped my nearly lifelong habit of pulling out my eyelashes which was my nervous stress reduction technique. Also, mindfulness meditation(read Jon Karat Zin) and/or Yoga can help.
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Thank you for your concern and wise suggestion. I have a psychiatrist who is treating me for clinical depression. I have been seeing him since before my mom died over three years ago. I am what he calls one of the best "maskers" he has ever treated. No one, except my best friend of many years, would ever think of me as depressed. I am always cheerful and smiling. My husband, who is part of the problem, doesn't even know. I have been reading and offering advice, when I thought I could help, on this site for some time now. I am finally comfortable enough to ask about my lip biting habit. This is being unusually candid for me. I think I am going through situational depression because of all of the major changes this year in my personal life and in my husband's health. I am generally pretty balanced, but I have felt myself seeking my "dark place" during the past few weeks and especially last night. It is due mostly to some things we were told about my husband's health. So, I am aware of what is happening. I was biting my lips as I was reading some other posts and thought that perhaps someone else might have the same reaction to stress and would know how to stop it. If my stress level persists, I will contact my doctor. I only see him as needed, until time for evaluation and medication. This might qualify as an "as needed" situation! To anyone else who is dealing with extreme stress and still feels there is a stigma about mental health and antidepressants, please seek help. I consider it an act of strength to realize it when one can't handle things alone. Reaching out when I did probably saved my life. Vegaslady and ba8alou, thank you so much for responding to my question. It helped a lot,.
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Profe; Have you discussed the idea of an antidepressant with your doctor? Some of them have good effects with the sorts of nervous habits you describe. in your position, I would find myself a psychiatrist who is skilled in psychopharmacology and have a talk with her/him.
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You are the only one who has responded to my question, and I appreciate you concern more than you can imagine. It is just feeding into my low mood and isolation right now. It is. 1:30AM here,, and I can't remember when I last slept. I am too tired to try to explain the circumstances and feelings right now. I hope you understand and are not offended. I will keep in touch with you. Thank you for your kindness. Talk soon.
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Well, let's go back to the source of stress. Do you want to describe the circumstances so we can possibly identify a solution to that?
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