This man chewed on his fingernails. A short time later he was dead.

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Psychological problems can often cause people to harm themselves. This can take the form of a behavioral disorder, an addiction or a compulsion. Forty-year-old John Gardener from Wigan, England had suffered from chronic anxiety and depression for a long time and started biting his fingernails as a result. But what seemed like a harmless nervous habit ended up having tragic consequences. John’s story is a sad one that will hopefully serve as a warning to all of us.

When John was only 10 months old doctors diagnosed him with diabetes and for the rest of his life he needed insulin injections twice a day. The illness led to further health problems and John developed a serious heart condition. In 2011 his leg was so badly damaged by ulcers resulting from his diabetes that it had to be amputated. At this point John’s psychological problems began to get worse.

As the years went on John’s fingernail biting became more intense. Dr. Daniel Vernon was treating John at the time and reported that his fingernails were constantly in bad condition and that he had most likely lost all sense of feeling in his fingertips.

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