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Mind Over Debt: Your Health May Be At Risk



There is nothing quite like the sweaty palms and the gut-wrenching stress of being overwhelmed by debt.

Modern medicine has long identified stress as leading to many health issues, everything from anxiety, ulcers, and kidney stones to more severe conditions such as heart attacks or strokes. All too often, the stress of debt is further compounded by collection calls and fights with a spouse or significant other over money issues–leading to a vicious cycle of negative behavior ultimately destroying relationships and ruining health. This is why debt management skills are so sorely needed in today’s modern world.

Debt Epidemic

Never before has the debt been so heavily marketed with billions of credit card offers going out every year to vulnerable people. Even with the housing crash and the downturn in the economy, it’s easy to find one’s self overwhelmed with crushing debt and the stress that can accompany it. Debt management can help an individual or family learn to cope with the sense of hopelessness and despair that often accompanies a high debt load.

Income or lifestyles are not discriminatory when comparing health issues related to debt. An individual earning 100k a year, but facing 60k in consumer debt, suffer the same proportionally to a person making 50k, but owing 15k…the stress levels remain the same. According to a 2005 AP poll of consumers, over half of those polled responded they were suffering from debt-induced stress. Of those who responded, 29% reported severe anxiety or depression; 44% percent said frequent migraines. Furthermore, mental health professionals have reported a significant increase in patients with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, citing their debt as the prime influence.

Gaining the Skills to Manage Debt

With so much access to easy credit, it’s no wonder that people find themselves in over their head. Learning to manage debt, developing a reasonable budget, and staying within one’s means isn’t widely taught in schools, leaving individuals and families to figure out these skills on their own; many times when the debt has already accrued. Meanwhile, the marketing engine of today’s consumer lifestyle continues to crank out newer and more sophisticated ways for people to get into debt.

Thankfully, people today are taking it upon themselves to find the information needed to get their lives back on track. Already, for the first time in over a decade, the US government is reporting an uptick in the savings of the average U.S. consumer, while consumer debt has been slowly going down. It’s never been easier to learn the basics of debt management and rediscover what a good night’s sleep and lower stress feels like.