Your Money and Your Mind: How Debt Affects Your Mental Health

Debts can significantly impact your mental health. They can lead to stress, depression, anxiety, and other chronic illnesses like high blood pressure.

While many may think that debts result from living an excessive lifestyle and mostly affect the extravagant people, debts can affect anyone. However, unemployment is the most common cause of debt problems, and it can happen to anyone also. Tremendous economic changes and fluctuations can cause single parents, families, and retirees to be in debt due to a lack of financial flexibility.

As you sort things out to balance your finances, don’t forget the effect debts can have on your health. Understanding how money and your mental health are connected is the first step in getting out of debt. The tips below will help you get started.

Ways Debt Affects your Mental Health

Higher unemployment rates, increased cost of living, and other stressors are causing many people to have mental health issues. The following are ways debts are affecting a person’s mental health.

Creates Stress

There is a strong connection between the amount of debt and stress levels. According to a Northwestern University study, debt increased stress levels by 11.7%.

People tend to be more stressed when their debts get more than their income or asset value. As a result of increased financial stress, you may experience certain physical signs of stress like headaches, digestive problems, ulcers, and muscle tension.

Leads to Depression and Anxiety

If you feel more depressed, you might not be able or have the motivation to manage your money. People having unmanageable debts suffer anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. The research published in the Journals of Gerontology shows the connection between financial insecurity and mental health problems.

While you should visit your mental health doctor, don’t forget to seek help to reduce financial anxiety and prevent the condition from worsening.

Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions

People in debt are more likely to suffer mental disorders than those not having financial issues. After all, debt is one of the risk factors for mental disorders. Prolonged financial insecurity and pressure from debt collectors trigger negative actions.

For instance, a person suffering from depression may overspend to feel better, and those experiencing hypomania may make impulsive financial decisions. One way out of this negative cycle is to get both financial and mental health problems help from experts.

Developing Behavioral Changes

Debts can lead to adverse behavioral changes. You may notice changes in appetite, sleeping problems, increased alcohol use, procrastination, and other unhealthy behaviors.

Social Life and Relationship Strain

Financial problems can affect a person’s social life and relationship. Many couples agree that finances are the biggest cause of disagreement in their relationships. Many avoid talking about their financial situation or may be unwilling to compromise to manage debt.

One way of avoiding debt strain in your relationship is to have honest financial discussions with your partner.

Increased Financial Problems

Financial insecurity leads to mental health issues which further triggers more financial problems. Many may overspend to relieve depression and anxiety feelings. Others intentionally avoid talking about finances and anything reminding them of their debt, especially their bank statements and bills.

While you may avoid stressful feelings by not talking about your debt, you will end up making it impossible to solve what caused your financial problems in the first place. Eventually, you will fall into deeper financial hardships.

A rule of the thumb is to face reality and discuss your financial problems openly instead of letting emotions control the situation.

Effects of Debt on your Physical Health

Debt issues may cause physical health problems, including:

  • Increased body aches – include migraines, headaches, back pain, and muscle tension.
  • Weak immunity – is caused by increased stress hormone(cortisol) levels in your system.
  • High blood pressure- financial stress and anxiety may lead to high blood pressure, especially if your coping mechanism involves smoking, excessive alcohol use, or overeating.

Coping Strategies

One of the benefits of addressing your debts as soon as they occur is avoiding mental and physical health problems. Some of the ways of coping with debt and its health impacts include:

1. Taking specific steps to deal with your finances

You can start by handling your credit card debt or settling medical debts. While people have different types of debts, some common steps to cope with your financial situation include:

  • Financial education to help you manage your finances effectively.
  • Debt settlement will help you negotiate a settlement with your creditors to have manageable payments.
  • Budgeting will help you plan your income to avoid overspending

2. Managing your mental health

Managing your mental health will reduce the chances of suffering from depression and anxiety and reduce financial stress. You can take control of your mental health by:

  • Talking to someone you trust about your financial struggles
  • Getting mental health counseling from professionals
  • By observing a healthier lifestyle that includes exercising, having good sleeping habits, and eating a balanced diet.

Where Can You Get Help

If you are going through financial stress, you are not alone. At National Debt Relief, we will help you manage your debts and regain your financial stability through our proven debt relief program. Contact us today, and we will walk with you every step of the way to attain your financial independence.

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