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Debt and Stress: Effects and Solutions

Published June 15, 2018

Depressed couple doing their accounting in their living room

Stress is a harmful condition that is mostly associated with adulthood and dealing with responsibilities. Stress works as an alarm system which alerts the body to a threat of survival. It keeps the body in a constant state of anxiety and worry over this identified threat, and if not removed leads to depression and poor health.

Debt is a typical stressor, and as it stands, is one that affects millions of Americans. Stress from debt is quite different from other stressors, in that it is hard to make it go away. Other stressors like day-to-day hassles, trouble with in-laws, change in responsibilities at work, or a child leaving home are generally temporary ones that we deal with and then disregard. On the other hand, the stress of debt continues to affect us until we find a way to manage it, which may take years or even decades.

Debt Stress Syndrome

For debtors, there is always a mounting pressure to pay bills, and this leads to an increase in stress related illnesses. This is referred to as debt stress syndrome in the medical circles. Debt stress syndrome involves the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which increases blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate. As such, debt stress syndrome affects one’s health in a number of ways both physiologically and psychologically. These are some of the effects of debt stress syndrome at a glance:

Possible Effects of Debt Stress Syndrome

  • Debt Stress Syndrome can leave you feeling sick and sad by the thought of your debt.
  • It can lead to insomnia and loss of appetite.
  • It can cause muscle pains, chest pains, and headaches.
  • You can experience anger and irritability as a result of it.
  • It can lead to excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse.
  • Debt Stress Syndrome can lead to social withdrawal.
  • It can increase the risk of diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes.
  • The body repair system can be affected thereby exacerbating preexisting health conditions.

Dealing with Debt Stress

It is important to tackle stress once it’s identified and then manage your debt. The following are helpful measures to consider.

  • Talk to Your Doctor: Just like any kind of stress, doctors can help you cope with your debt stress. Letting your doctor know what you are going through will help them prescribe appropriate therapies that are suitable for dealing with debt stress.
  • Admit Your Situation: It is necessary that you avoid being in denial of your situation. Most debtors feel ashamed to discuss their debts but doing so can actually help. Talk to your loved ones about your debt and seek their opinion on the way forward. You are most likely to get perspectives on how to deal with it when you brainstorm with others.
  • Be Proactive: Most people who are in debt allow the stress to make them feel out of control. You have to take charge of the situation. Do not avoid your credit companies, rather, consider a debt management plan, or other means of dealing with it. Discuss with the credit company and make payment plans that suit both parties.

Managing Your Debts

You also need to consider different ways to manage your debts in order to live a debt free stress-free life.

  • Negotiate with Your Creditors: This is also an effective way to go about managing your debts. Call your creditors and negotiate with their customer service representative. Explain your situation and try to get more favorable terms such as suspension of payments for some months or a reduction in your interest rate.
  • Get a Second Job: Getting a second job is only advisable if you are physically fit to take it on. You can also consider putting in extra shifts on your current job. When taking a second job, it is wiser to do something you are naturally interested in. Such as putting in shifts in a neighborhood bookstore, if you are a book lover. This way, you earn more and do what you enjoy, thereby reducing your stress.

Ultimately, you need to seek financial advice. Financial advisors are better informed and would help you make good decisions in managing your debts by professionally considering your situation and helping you make the right choices.

If you are struggling with debt stress and need financial advice on how to manage your debts, we can help. Call CreditGUARD today to speak with our qualified financial advisor who can help choose the best debt management plan.

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