The Incredible Link Between Debt and Stress

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Beyond Finance TeamPosted on Sep 13, 2018

Did you know that your financial struggles could be putting your health at risk? A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association revealed that 1 in 5 Americans have either thought about skipping, or have skipped, a visit to the doctor because of financial concerns. Moreover, those who participated in the survey said that they had stressed over money matters within the past month.

Let’s examine how stress is related to debt, and can affect your emotional, physical, and behavioral wellbeing.

EMOTIONAL

Excessive debt can fill the mind with negative emotions. Irritability, moodiness, and the inability to relax are all common side-effects of stress and are all contributing factors to depression. A recent article posted on WebMD found that 73% ofthe subjects surveyed by the American Psychological Association identified money as the main source of stress in their lives. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, 3 out of every 4 American families are in debt. In another study from Northwestern Medicine, “high financial debt was associated with higher diastolic pressure and poorer overall general and mental health in young adults.” Clearly, being worried about how to get out of debt or how to pay off credit cards can take its toll.

PHYSICAL

Worrying about how to get out of debt or how to pay off credit cards can literally make you sick.

There is overwhelming evidence that mind-body balance is an important factor in maintaining one’s physical well-being. A recent study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine cited that “Those with increasing credit card debt described themselves as having worse physical functioning, worse health and greater helplessness.” Mental health unquestionably affects an individual’s physical health. Nausea, chest pain, hair loss, skin problems, and even dental problems are some of the most common warning signs. If left unchecked, these symptoms can lead to further health complications such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

The need for debt relief can affect anyone. The stress of credit card debt on an individual’s physical wellbeing affects more seasoned adults as well as younger ones. A random study of undergrad and grad students at the University of Minnesota found that those with at least $1,000 in credit card debt were associated with unhealthy risk factors that included overweight/obesity, unhealthy weight control, and violence.

BEHAVIORAL

When you experience the mental and physical maladies triggered by stress, your behavior can also drastically change. A study performed at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics found that “there is a possibility that non-collateralized debt could cause poorer health behaviors through anxiety and frustration.” Behavioral stress can lead to substance abuse and an inconsistency in one’s appetite or sleep cycle. As a result, he or she may start to interact with people differently and relationships with friends, family and colleagues may be jeopardized. In fact, lack of initiative and irritability can set in, affecting one’s work ethic.

Putting one’s physical and mental well-being at risk because of burdensome debt is not a lifestyle many of us would choose. But by recognizing the signs, you can begin the journey of returning to a healthier place. It’s not easy for some of us to notice, or even admit, that we need help with our debt since we become accustomed to a feeling of despair.

To speak with a consultant at Beyond Finance, to help resolve your debt, call us at 1-800-495-4069.