Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

5 Ways Debt Affects Your Mental Health

Being unable to provide for your family members can make you feel stressed and inadequate. That is why there is often a strong correlation between debt and mental health. The more money you owe, the worse you feel emotionally.

There are some ways to avoid excessive debt. You can limit your credit card spending or stick to affordable student loans. However, sometimes unexpected expenses arise, such as emergency medical bills. This can put you in a seemingly never-ending cycle of debt that takes a toll on your body and mind. Here are five ways that debt harms your mental health.

  1. Debt Can Prevent Proper Sleep

Your brain needs sufficient rest each night to function properly. Debt, however, can turn restful nights into restless ones. You could spend hours tossing and turning in bed wondering how you will pay your bills. You could also have nightmares about losing your home or your reputation. It is no wonder that those who have stable finances sleep more soundly at night.

  1. Debt Can Lead to Denial

Being in debt can be hard to accept. That is why, if you owe a lot of money, you could start to experience debt denial. You may throw out bills or hang up on debt collection agents. You could also underestimate how much you owe and continue your compulsive spending habits. While ignoring your financial problems will make your brain feel good for a while, reality will catch up to you eventually.

  1. Debt Can Increase Stress

Unfortunately, accepting your debt can be harmful to your mental health, as well. You may find yourself feeling more stressed as you worry about your bills. This stress could lead to behavioral changes, such as increased procrastination and loss of appetite. You may also feel tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol.

  1. Debt Can Cause Anxiety and Depression

The stress of debt can lead to a diagnosable mental illness such as anxiety. Over time, just seeing a bill could make you sweat or give you a headache. This anxiety could even turn into depression. You may feel hopeless and pull away from the people and activities that you used to love. You may also go on a shopping spree to make yourself feel better, which could just lead to more debt.

Debt is also a common cause of suicide. Research shows that people who owe a significant amount of money are three times more likely to kill themselves compared to those who do not have financial issues.

  1. Debt Can Make You Angry

Instead of getting depressed or stressed about your debt, you could just get mad at the world. You may irrationally lash out at everyone you love. Those with debt-anger syndrome yell at their spouses for not earning more money and scream at their children for spending too much. This constant state of anger can ruin your relationships and cause physical ailments such as heart disease and migraines.

If you are experiencing debt-related mental health problems, there are some things you can do to cope. Speak to a credit counselor or another professional who can help you pay off your debts in an affordable way. In the meantime, you should not keep your feelings to yourself. Talk to a friend, a family member or a therapist about your emotional and financial struggles. Keeping your thoughts bottled up inside will only make things worse.

Debt can affect your mental health in many ways. You could start feeling stressed, angry or depressed. You may have trouble sleeping, as well. In some cases, you might even deny that you are in debt at all. The change in your emotional state can affect your relationship with loved ones, causing even further strain.

While you may not be able to avoid debt, you can prevent it from ruining your life.  Speaking with a financial advisor can help you pay off your loans, and talking to a therapist can improve your overall well-being.