The Impact of Debt on Your Mental Health: Finding a Way Out
If you are struggling managing debt, you are not alone. Debt has been around forever, but never have so many Americans been so fraught. The upheaval associated with the pandemic impacted the health, livelihood, and financial security of millions, leading to more oppressive debt for many. Current inflation is not helping matters, creating more stress and uncertainty. In the aftermath of all this ambiguity many Americans find themselves battling yet another monster: mental health illness.
The money shortage is very real for many American families, who worry every day about the possibility of having utilities turned off, a vehicle repossessed, or an eviction notice. In fact, roughly two million households have serious issues with back rent, totaling as much as $21 billion. Household debt overall? That number tops $17 trillion, over a trillion of which is credit card debt. For the average family, that comes to $6,569. Loans for cars and other consumer products increased by $15 billion this year, and with it, stress levels have been peaking.
Researchers have concluded that debt worries do trigger stress, making people more vulnerable to mental health issues. That could, ironically, lead to less self-control, more binge spending, and poor judgment in terms of finances. Denial can become an entrenched problem, exhibited by:
- An underestimation of how much debt there actually is;
- Refusing to answer the phone because of fears it could be a debt collector;
- Failing to open mail that is from creditors;
- Maxing out credit cards, only to open new ones;
- Justifying financial circumstances by saying everyone lives like this.
Four in ten consumers report that credit card debt decreases their level of happiness, one in three say it has a deleterious impact on their standard of living, and one in five say it’s had a negative impact on their health. To be sure, stress can lead to increased drug and alcohol consumption, and even suicide. In fact, those experiencing “acute” financial stress are more likely to attempt suicide to the tune of 20 times. Stress and anxiety can also lead to anger, and debt-related stress now has its own moniker: Debt-Anger Syndrome. The anger can be pointed toward creditors, the postman who delivers bills, bosses who under-pay, family members who continue to want and need things, and self for being a “loser.” That can lead to depression, and even physical symptoms like high blood pressure, immunity issues, weight changes, sleep dysfunction, and memory issues. The toll can be catastrophic: so finding a solution is essential.
While bankruptcy may have some stressors itself, the relief it provides can literally be lifesaving. At The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our experienced Miami bankruptcy attorneys can help you get out from under the pressure of creditors and their aggressive tactics, putting you on the road to financial solvency and mental relief. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.