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The Emotional Side of Debt and When to Get Help

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Whether you owe the cell phone company money for services or you you’re bogged down with student loans, everyone has debt. While debt is certainly a common occurrence in life, there are instances in which debt can overcome you. I’m not talking about feeling a little bummed (which is pretty normal), what I’m referring to is a lot more significant – mental illness.

If you’re not careful, the overwhelming burdens of too much debt can very easily cause you to become chronically stressed, over anxious, or even depressed. Coincidentally, mental illness can often lead to dependency on drugs and alcohol to mask the emotions and get through the day.

You’re Not Alone, It Happens to Everyone

Money issues happen to the best of us. One minute things are going just fine and the next thing you know your finances are all over the place and debt is getting out of control. Whether you lost a job, recently divorced, or simply fell of track financially, it can really consume your every thought if you’re not careful. While there are some of us who can deal with the pressure of paying down bills and handling the day to day responsibilities, others become so mentally consumed that their every waking moment is about stressing over finances.

The phone rings and they’re anxious it may be a bill collector. The mail arrives and their stressed at the new balance on their credit card account. Or they’re so busy trying to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in that they become depressed. Though some response and emotional reaction is to be expected, one must question when their debts have begun to hinder their mental health. Below are some signs that you not only need assistance in finding relief from the debt, but that you also need help from a therapist to sort through the emotion of it all.

  • Inability to Sleep – Are your bills keeping you up at night? Do you find it challenging to get a good night’s rest because you’re worrying about how you’re going to pay a large balance, or even worse how you will afford the bare necessities as you climb out of debt? Lack of sleep of course can lead to a host of issues and could be the beginning signs of mental illness such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Lack of Concentration – Try as you may you can’t really focus in on anything else you have to do because all you keep worrying about is that heaping pile of debt you have to conquer. Lack of concentration of course can lead to poor performance which could ultimately cause other areas of your life to fall apart. Essentially making it a lot harder to cope with debt and the emotional connection.
  • Change in Eating Habits – Food is a big indicator that your emotional well being could be out of tune. How so? Well if you find that recently you’re not in the mood to eat much or you find yourself gorging on comfort foods, then this is not a good thing. While eating foods is necessary for daily survival, not eating enough food, or eating too much of it can really be detrimental to your health. Not to mention that essentially you’re using food as an emotional crutch (for those who are overeating).
  • Panic/Fear – Debt can actually cause panic and fear in those who are dealing with a lot of debt and facing serious consequences. When the phone rings, does your heart rate increase? Do your palms get sweaty? If so, you could be dealing with anxiety attacks and need to get help in resolving the matter.
  • Feelings of Hopelessness – Have you just given up on living a normal life? When you’re dealing with a large amount of debt, sometimes it can feel like it’s never going to end and you’ll never find happiness again. While this isn’t the case, if you find yourself feeling really down and out, this can be a significant sign of depression.
  • Depending on Substances – Does your debt literally drive you to drink? After getting off the phone with a bill collector do you often need to take back a shot or two to calm your nerves? Or do you need other substances to feel “high” because debt has you feeling so low? According to the Prescott House, a rehab facility that specializes in treating dual diagnosis for men, approximately 50% of all individuals who abuse substances are also suffering from mental illness that needs to be treated.

Dealing with debt is no doubt a stressful ordeal that can sometimes seem overwhelming. While some emotion is normal, when you find that it’s taking over your life, you need to get help before it is too late. When referring to help, keep in mind that not only do you need assistance in getting out of debt, but you also need assistance in dealing with your emotional health. Whether this means talking with a therapist or participating in a rehab program, the sooner you put back the pieces of your life, the better off things will be for you.

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