Debt causes emotional stress or does emotional stress cause debt?
This is the best answer researchers have come up with after years of research. Some studies have found that worrying about debt triggers stress, which reduces resilience against mental health problems.
Other studies show that mental health problems reduce self-control, increase expenses and basically confuse a person’s financial judgment. It also explains why Jack Nicholson didn’t have a checking account in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
But when we say mental problems caused by debts, we are not talking about a psychotic disorder in the sense of the word but about emotional distress that can cause the debtor to feel it strongly in the stomach.
Patterns of behavior that force some of us to spend without restraint can lead a person to debt and trigger disturbing emotional reactions in most cases.
Consumers do not have the luxury of continuous spending and an endless deficit, although many act as if they do. They waste compulsively while ignoring their deteriorating condition. They postpone addressing problems until some external event—credit rejection, threat of foreclosure, legal action, harassing phone calls from creditors, and execution—forces change.
Some of the symptoms of debt denial are:
- Underestimating or underestimating the amount of debt.
- Failure to answer the phone when there is a suspicion that a creditor is on the other end of the line.
- Ignores envelopes received by mail, bills and letters. A natural action is to put them in a drawer, closed.
- Order a new credit card when the old one has reached the maximum credit used.
- Comfort in the thought that everyone is in the same situation.
Ignoring reality is a defense mechanism that helps you not deal with the problem, it is a way to excuse mistakes and defend your actions. The problem is that reality always pats you in the face and such behavior only leads to the accumulation of greater debt, as interest rates grow and delinquent fees accumulate.
Stress is the other side of denial. There is no debt that is not accompanied by stress.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans said they felt stressed about money. And 22% said they felt “extreme” stress because of their financial situation.
So what exactly is “stress”?
The term was coined by endocrinologist Hans Celje in 1936, who defined it as “the body’s non-specific response to any demand for change”.In modern financial terms, this means that you go hyperventilated (hyperventilation) when the visa account arrives 🙂
Stress may be difficult to define, but it manifests itself in understandable ways – lack of sleep, loss of focus, worry, or disturbing distress.
This can affect big things like your job, which with the stress that accompanies debt increases your fear of losing your job, which will make your financial situation even worse. This can affect small things like lunch, since you feel guilty about ordering iced tea for $2.19 instead of water. You don’t need an endocrinologist to tell you that this is no way to live.
Fear and panic
As with an open wound, the thought of receiving a notice of late payment not only makes you uncomfortable, it causes you rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, dry mouth, headache and body tremors.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. Financial worries are a major cause of these disruptions. You assume the worst, like being homeless if your house is foreclosed, or your car breaks down on your way to work and you’re fired for being late.
No one wants to live like this.
And apparently, they also do not want to marry someone who lives like this. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that high levels of debt contributed to declining marriage rates among young people.
In times of economic crisis, the anger that accompanies life in debt stands out.
Instead of panicking or denying it, there are those who get angry. They are angry at creditors who keep sending them bills; angry at the postman who brings the bills; angry at their bosses for not paying them more; angry at their spouses for not making more money; angry at their children for needing a new braces; And angry at themselves for getting to this point.
In short, they are angry at life.
This can not only destroy relationships, but the physiological effects can lead to migraines, heart disease and lower the level of resistance to infections.
People deny, run wild and fall apart because of debt. Going through these steps doesn’t solve the debt problem, the bills are still waiting for them, and that’s when depression settles.
People struggling with debt are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression, according to a study by the University of Nottingham in England.
Helplessness as well as low self-esteem can lead to an increase in debt, since sufferers sometimes try to alleviate their depression by “rewarding themselves” with a shopping spree or some other mental escape.
But all it does is increase debt, which leads to more depression and despair. At this point, people don’t care if their pain caused by debt or debt is causing their pain. They just want the pain to end.
The good news about debt and mental distress is that treatment can be quite simple. You don’t have to spend money on medication or waste time on the psychiatrist’s couch, getting out of debt also solves the mental distress in most cases. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it can be done if you make the decision to get out of debt and stick to a plan that allows you to do so.
Whatever the reasons for diving into unpleasant debt levels, your goals should be to reduce your expenses, increase your monthly payments to creditors, reduce interest rates, and pay your bills on a set date. The very act of starting to climb up out of a financial hole is a positive first step that will make you feel better.
(This article is based on a free translation of parts of thisarticle )