Type D Personality and the Cardiac Connection

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of illness and death in Americans. For many, the focus on diet and exercise has become vitally important in fighting against the statistics linked to deaths and cardiac failure. For many Americans, however, the emotional and spiritual well being is often overlooked as a risk factor. In fact, for individuals suffering from a significant emotional, spiritual and social withdrawal, the cardiac implication is significant. Understanding the implications of these deficiencies, in what is known as a Personality Type D, will further reduce the cardiac related deaths and illnesses in the United States.

For a Type D individual, life often appears to be an emotional and constant battle. Often feeling isolated, depressed, anxious and, therefore, socially withdrawn the Type D personality is perceived as a negative individual. For individuals suffering from Type D personality symptoms, the focus on not only diet and exercise are important but also the relief of stress, anxiety and depression is of concern. In seeking medical attention, the Type D personality should be screened, by a healthcare professional, and prescribed the appropriate medications in alleviating anxiety and depression with consideration given to behavioral and cognitive therapy to further reduce the mental health afflictions. Additionally, because the Type D personality is often perceived as socially awkward and negative, consideration should be made to developing social skills and improving social networks. Referrals to a therapy specialist, as well as a religious affiliation is appropriate.

When untreated, studies have shown the Type D personality often suffers from a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Attributed to the level of stress and anxiety, the Type D personality frequently impacts heart and blood pressure function due to psychological factors and social factors. Additionally, for those Type D personality types who do not exercise and eat well, the risk is substantially increased. Identifying and treating the Type D personality, therefore, is vitally important to negate the increasing statistics with regard to heart disease.

Professionally, the Type D personality is perceived as a workaholic. Always involved in activities and tends to assume more responsibility than can be realistically achieved. With assertive and hardworking characteristics similar to that of a Type A personality, the Type D personality, with the added depression, anxiety and social awkwardness, may be difficult to place as an employee and among peer groups.

For many Type D personality types, the struggle in locating and treating with a healthcare professional in Type D personality disorders is a challenge. Often misdiagnosed, the Type D personality will commonly undergo treatment for depression and anxiety but the implications of the social withdrawal are rarely addressed.

In the United States, each year, heart disease and heart attacks attribute to a significant number of deaths. As friends, family and healthcare professionals, when caring for a person suffering from a cardiovascular disorder, consider the mental and emotional aspect of the care which may indicate the afflicted person suffers from a Type D personality condition. When considered a possibility, recommending the correct diet, exercise and medications are appropriate in addition to the element of psychotherapy to remedy behavioral and cognitive thinking in the Type D personality patient.

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