In 2020, consumer debt reached more than $14.56 trillion, increasingly growing in areas of the home, auto, student loans, and credit card debt. Whether “good” debt or “bad” debt, borrowing money and needing to repay it can be overwhelming and cause a number of negative effects on your physical and emotional well-being. You must remember to make each monthly payment on time, pay high-interest rates that can make your debt increase, and continue to stay motivated even if it seems like no matter how much you pay, your debt isn’t decreasing.
If you’re overwhelmed with debt, a debt repayment plan is a good place to start. Using a debt payoff calculator, you can learn how to pay off loans faster or which method can help you save more money on interest. Doing this sooner than later can be extremely beneficial to avoid the negative consequences debt has on your emotional state.
Effects Debt Has on Your Emotional Well-Being
Here is a list of 6 effects debt can have on your emotional well-being. Remember, you’re not alone, and millions of others may also be struggling with debt and feeling the same way.
However, by creating a plan and working with a financial advisor or tool to help you consolidate and pay off debts, you can ease these effects and get back to feeling more like yourself.
This happens quickly when you’re worried about making debt payments, and stress can affect you both emotionally and physically. You may feel overwhelmed with how much debt you have, how to make those payments, and how to continue to pay other bills or contribute to savings. Perhaps you have debt collectors calling you, or you may feel increasingly stressed at work or with friends or family because of the pressure you feel to repay debts.
Anxiety and depression
Those who struggle with debt are more likely to also suffer from anxiety and/or depression. You may feel anxious about how to manage repayments or how you’ll set money aside for an emergency fund. You may feel hopeless about your debt situation, leading to feelings of depression. These feelings can also manifest in physical wellness such as headaches or migraines, insomnia, obesity, heart problems, or inability to focus or function.
The more stressed and anxious you are about your debts, the more likely you are to take out those feelings on others around you, becoming irritated with those close to you. This could lead to arguments and other challenges in your relationships. It can also lead to more stress on yourself because you may be worried about your irritation with others and how it’s affecting your relationships.
Sometimes, to deal with the other emotional effects of stress, people choose to not deal with the debt at all. This feeling of denial about the situation may seem easier than tackling the debt head-on, but you’ll still have constant reminders of bills that need to be paid, payments that are overdue, and fees or other penalties you’re incurring in the meantime. In the end, this can lead to getting into more debt faster, which can cause more negative effects on your emotional well-being.
Anger and frustration
It’s frustrating to know you have debt that needs repaid, but no matter what you do, it seems like you’re not impacting the situation. Frustration can lead to anger, which can lead to other impulsive decisions that may not be best for you or your family. And, the more frustrated you are with the situation, the harder it can be to stay motivated to make debt payments.
Regretting the actions you took to get in debt, or those you didn’t take to get out of it, is a common feeling. Perhaps you didn’t realize how quickly your student loan debt would add up, or you didn’t take the time to understand interest rates or repayment options. Maybe you made a large purchase you shouldn’t have, ignoring the fact that it would accrue debt. Feelings of regret can increase your chances of suffering from depression, negatively affecting your well-being.
Caitlyn is a freelance writer from the Cincinnati area with clients ranging from digital marketing agencies, insurance/finance companies, and healthcare organizations to travel and technology blogs. She loves reading, traveling, and camping—and hanging with her dogs Coco and Hamilton.