Can’t get no satisfaction: The Type A personality is at risk for mental health problems

Can’t get no satisfaction: The Type A personality is at risk for mental health problems

Perhaps everyone has heard of the Type A and Type B personalities. Type A’s are known to be overachievers, competitive in nature, always pressed for time and not surprisingly more stressed and more prone to a heart attack. The Type B personality is more even-keeled and laid-back, and prefers to live in the moment rather than compete for a successful future. Type A’s tend to be successful at work due their drive and dedication. Type B’s can become more successful by setting goals. One is not necessarily better than the other and many people can display qualities of both personality types.

A study titled “Relationship between Type A Personality and Mental Health,” published in 2011, showed a significant correlation between Type A personalities and mental health. This study confirmed previous research by Friedman and Rozenman in 1950 that showed similar findings.

A key component to depression

Type A personalities are perfectionists. They burn both candle ends by waking up at dawn and finishing work after dark. Their drive not only increases their stress level but also keeps them passionate. Yet these people do burn out, get tired and, as a result, may end up with broken relationships and mental health problems. They are more at risk for having depression and anxiety.

A 2004 Seattle Times article titled “Study finds perfectionists at higher risk for an array of problems” sheds light on the relationship between perfectionism and mental health problems including depression. As perfectionists, Type A personalities seldom experience life satisfaction because they are constantly trying to improve and become more successful. They seldom slow down and enjoy moments of relaxation. Never reaching satisfaction is one key component that can lead to depression.

Recognize stressors

Although a Type A personality can be an asset to achieving success, it is important to appreciate everyday beauty and realize that it is OK to have imperfections. Learning about one’s flaws and embracing them can prevent future anxiety. Learning that it is normal to make a bad decision or to fall down can prevent someone from going into a depressive state.

The goal is to recognize your stressors and learn how to manage or prevent them from ruining your day or, worse yet, your future and mental state. If you or anyone you know is battling with depression because he or she is overworked and burned out, the Dual Diagnosis Helpline may be able to help. For more information, call 855-981-6047.