Type A personality

Type A personality

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Type A personality has almost become a household word. The relationship between type A personality and heart disease has become a common knowledge, at least, among physicians and their afflicted patients. In spite of its wide publicity and media attention, criteria of type A behavior or personality still remain vague. Even the so-called experts don't diagnose it correctly. There are two cardinal features of type A that we must remember, namely, "time urgency or time - impatience" and "free-floating (all pervasive and ever-present) hostility."

While the term “Type A” is thrown around often, it's not always fully known what specific characteristics make up “Type A” personality, even among experts. For example, some people, the term applies to rude and impatient people. Others see workaholics as “Type A”. Many see competitiveness as the main characteristic.

According to research, the following characteristics are the hallmark characteristics of Type A Behavior (TAB):

Time Urgency and Impatience, as demonstrated by people who, among other things, get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it they have to spare.

Free-Floating Hostility or Aggressiveness, which shows up as impatience, rudeness, being easily upset over small things, or `having a short fuse', for example.

This disorders likely result from the complex interplay of early life experience, genetic and environmental factors. In principle, genetic factors contribute to the biological basis of brain function and to basic personality structure. This structure then influences how individuals respond to and interact with life experiences and the social environment. Over time, each person develops distinctive patterns or ways of perceiving their world and of feeling, thinking, coping and behaving.

Although little is known to date about possible biological correlates of this disorder, individuals with this disorders may have impaired regulation of the brain circuits that control emotion. This difficulty, combined with psychological and social factors such as abuse, neglect or separation, puts an individual at higher risk of developing this disorder. Strong attachments within the family or a supportive network of people outside the family, in the school and in the community help an individual develop a strong sense of self-esteem and strong coping abilities. Opportunities for personal growth and for developing unique abilities can enhance a person's self-image. This supportive environment may provide some protection against the development of a this disorder.

For biologically predisposed individuals, the major developmental challenges that are a normal part of adolescence and early adulthood - separation from family, self-identity, and independence - may be the precipitating factors for the development of this disorder.



    Exaggerated Sense of time urgency: Since the type A thinks that time is running out and since his goals are too big he always races with time. If you want to lose a type A in few days then waste his time (by making long phone calls or let him wait too long).

  • Competitiveness: The type A is a very competitive person, he/she considers everything to be a challenge. He/she is challenging the circumstances that led to his insecurities and he will challenge every thing else that stands in his way.

  • Multitasking: The type A can handle more tasks at the same time than ordinary people . You can easily know that a person is Type A if you found that he is involved in at least five unrelated activities while performing well at them all.

  • The Price for Over Achievement: Over achievement does not come for free. Type A's are subject to tremendous amounts of stress. Their life style is the main cause of this stress they suffer from (always running, having lots of things to do & racing with time)

The following physical characteristics often accompany:

    Facial tension (tight lips, clenched jaw, etc).

  • Tongue clicking or teeth grinding.

  • Dark circles under eyes.

  • Facial sweating (on forehead or upper lip).


People with this disorder usually do not see a problem with their own behavior. When they seek help, the reason is likely to be to get help with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse or with the problems created by their personality disorder such as divorce, unemployment, or loneliness—rather than the disorder itself. When people report such symptoms or problems, doctors usually ask them questions to determine whether a disorder might be involved. For example, they ask how people view themselves and others and how they respond when people react negatively to their behavior. The doctor suspects this disorder if peoplepersist in viewing themselves or others in ways that have no little or no basis in fact

Describe a pattern of inappropriate thoughts or behavior that they resist changing despite the negative consequences of such behavior. To help confirm the diagnosis, doctors usually try to talk with the person's friends and family members. Without such help, the doctor and the person might remain unaware of the person's role in creating the problems.Doctors base the diagnosis of this disorder on lists of personality traits (criteria) provided for each disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).


This disorder can be particularly difficult to treat, so it is important to choose a therapist with experience, enthusiasm, and who is capable of understanding the person's self-image, areas of sensitivity, and usual ways of coping. However, as important as kindness and sensible advice are, they by themselves do not change this disorder.

The first goal of treatment is reducing immediate stress, such as anxiety and depression. Reducing stress makes treatment of this disorder easier. First, therapists help people identify what is causing stress. Then, they consider ways to relieve the stress. Psychosocial therapy can usually help the person get out of highly stressful situations or relationships. Drugs for anxiety or depression can help relieve those symptoms. When drugs are used, they are used in small doses and for a limited time.

Because people with this disorder usually do not see a problem with their own behavior, doctors try to help them understand that their problems are internal and that their behavior is inappropriate and has harmful consequences. By establishing a cooperative, mutually respectful doctor-patient relationship, doctors can help people become more aware of themselves and recognize their socially undesirable/inappropriate behavior. Through this relationship, people can also realize that changes in their behavior and view of themselves and others will take time and effort. Achieving this understanding can take a long time.

Group therapy and behavioral modification can typically improve behavior within months. Self-help groups or family therapy can also help change inappropriate behavior. The involvement of family members is helpful and often essential because they can act in ways that either reinforce or diminish the inappropriate behavior or thoughts.

NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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