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Question
Posted by: Curious | 2004/02/09

Thumb Sucking

Dear Doc,

I do hope this is not a STUPID Question, but here goes......

WHY DOES GROWN UPS SUCK THEIR THUMBS??? The reason I'm asking is that I started doing it. Is there something wrong with me?????

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Curious,
I really don't see why that would be a stupid question !
Some grownups, some of the time, suck their thumbs for the same reason more people did when they were kids --- because it feels comforting. Similarly, some folks bite their fingernails ( a habit which more commonly persist into adult years ) or play with their hair. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you ; it's not harmful, obviously, but because it can become a habit that gets harder to break, ansd one which you may engage in without thinking, only to suddenly realize that folks are staring at you in the supermarket, or at church, it's worth breaking.
Any psychologist ought to be able to devise a behaviour therapy routine to get rid of such a habit. And you might manage it on your own, if you use a method of dipping your favourite thumb in something bitter or otherrwise tasking horrible, so that as soon as you start doing it, you'd be immediately aware of this, and would associate thumb-sucking with something unpleasant, rather than with a dreamy, peaceful feeling.

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