Personality

Personality

When we have a sense of self that allows us to interact appropriate with the world and other people we have a functional personality. Some forms of mental illness can skew the thought process so it interferes with how we deal with others. People with personality disorders may abuse drugs, may have lots of ups and downs in relationships, may have trouble making friends, may be isolated. There are many different kinds of disorders, but its important to know that it is possible to overcome them.

Recently Answered

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    Do I have the power to change my personality type?

    Our personalities are mainly determined by genetics and life experiences, but you can still change aspects of your personality by being conscious of your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain this concept.

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    How can my personality type affect my health?

    Our personality types can affect our health based on how we perceive and cope with stress; knowing your personality type can help with prevention. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain the personality types and how they can impact health.

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are the characteristics of a Type D personality?

    Type D personalities tend to be distressed, lonely, negative and isolated; they are often frustrated and irritated. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain the characteristics and health risks for Type D people, especially heart disease.

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are the characteristics of a Type C personality?

    Type C personalities tend to be very accommodating, passive and bookish; they avoid conflict, bottle emotion and act as people-pleasers. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain the characteristics and health risks of the Type C personality.

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are the characteristics of a Type B personality?

    Type B personalities tend to be relaxed, easy-going, social and less worried, ambitious and organized than Type As. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain the characteristics and surprising health risks of this laid-back personality type.

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are the characteristics of a Type A personality?

    Type A personalities tend to be very high-strung, ambitious and competitive; they are neat, move very quickly and are chronically stressed. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, explain the characteristics and health risks of the Type A personality.

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    ADavid L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answered
    There may, in fact, be no alternative to selfishness. Evolutionary biologists have wrestled most diligently with the topic, endeavoring to account for such apparent tendencies as altruism and cooperation. By and large, their analyses suggest that these behaviors serve the same basic purpose as selfishness, namely, fostering the “interests” of the organism in question. In the context of evolutionary biology, that interest is survival.

    In human context, things of course get more complicated. We have the expanse of culture and conscience to refract the crude intentions of biology into new designs. But there is a case to be made that even so, we cannot be other than selfish.

    While our great altruists -- Mother Teresa springs to mind -- are undeniably giving, that does not obviate selfishness. One may presume that if being generous and altruistic made Mother Teresa feel badly rather than gratified about herself, she might well have done otherwise. And if being altruistic did, indeed, provide her the greatest return in gratification -- well, then, it was…selfish. Doing what makes us feel good is selfish.

    This can, I suppose, seem a bleak epistemology. But that’s only if “selfish” is bad. There is nothing bleak about it if “selfish” is merely inevitable, with choices about good or bad to follow.
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    AMarsha Lucas, Psychology, answered
    Sympathetic concern is the capacity to appraise the other's situation and to try to understand why they're feeling the way they do. Renowned primatologist Frans de Waal calls this "cognitive empathy" -- you're putting some thought into your empathy, not just reacting at an automatic, bodily level.

    This is also the level at which consoling starts to kick in. If you see your partner coming in the door looking tight and upset, you experience the emotional contagion (you feel some of her distress and alarm in your own body) and you can try to figure out why she's in such a worked-up state -- you might also then be able to consider accurate ways to console her.

    You're not just feeling your partner's distress, but you're also figuring out what you might do to alleviate some of it. You might soften your face and ask empathically about what's up. You might put your arm around her.

    Monkeys are capable of showing this level of sympathetic concern, and of consoling one another (one monkey might console the loser of a fight, for example, by putting his arm around him). But it appears (from Frans de Waal's point of view, as one example) that they're doing this because, as they experience the emotional contagion of the loser, they feel yucky inside, and in order to alleviate their own yucky feelings, they try to get their tribe-mate to feel better so they can feel better too.

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    AMarsha Lucas, Psychology, answered
    At the entry level, empathy is "the ability to be affected by and share the emotional state of another being" (as renowned primatologist Frans de Waal, PhD, thinks of it). Anyone who's ever loved a dog knows what I'm talking about -- if you're happy, the dog's happy. If you're blue, the dog's blue. This is the ground floor of empathy.

    This first level of empathy isn't even something we decide to do. It's an automatic, involuntary activity that starts in the body. You detect what others are feeling, and before you can even register it consciously, you feel it. Period. Before you even know it.
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    ABrenda K. Wade, PhD, Psychology, answered
    Why are some people toxic and mean? Here’s what happens. Before the age of eight, children are miniature recording devices, they download whatever they see, hear, touch, taste, or smell, directly into their brains. Your brain can only learn through your five senses. Remember this: those who don’t heal their own hurt feelings, turn around and do unto others what was done to them. Even when it comes to love, they actually believe that “love equals pain”. That’s the pattern formed in their brain during childhood. It’s what my mom learned and what I learned too. Toxic people are not bad people, they just haven’t learned new patterns.