Figuratively speaking, debt disables us by robbing us of the freedom to live. Instead we exist, persistently gripped by a deep sense of hopelessness and helplessness alongside feelings of incompetence and inadequacy.
Mental anguish, then. And there are related physical problems, too.
The fact that uSwitch.com a site offering advice to those thinking of changing their energy supplier or bank, for example provides eight tips on coping with depression, anxiety and stress caused by financial worries highlights growing concern over the medical side-effects.
University College Berkeley graduate Laura Choi is a research associate in the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Warning of the link between health problems occasioned by debt she has written of the real physical pain that individuals and families are experiencing as a result of their precarious financial situations.
Listing some of the effects she cited headaches, backaches, ulcers, increased blood pressure, depression and anxiety, adding: Extended periods of stress can take their toll on physical, mental and emotional health, compounding the difficulties that many low-and moderate-income communities face during troubled economic times.
Paul J. Lavrakas is a research psychologist at the Ohio State University who has studied the effect of financial debt on health and well-being.
He found that among the people reporting high debt stress, 27% had ulcers or digestive-tract problems. This compares with 8% of those with low levels of debt stress.
Some 29% suffered severe anxiety, compared with just 4% of those with low debt stress.
Lavrakas stated: We cant conclude from these findings that financial stress is the lone culprit in poor health outcomes, but medical research suggests that these types of symptoms are representative of chronic stress.
The body reacts to stress with a fight-or-flight response, releasing adrenaline and cortisol, major hormones associated with stress. In situations of persistent stress, the body adapts to adverse conditions by establishing a new state of equilibrium, and the elevated levels of these chemicals can cause significant physical harm to vital bodily systems such as blood pressure, heart rate, memory, mood, and immune functioning.
Those physical manifestations, in step with stress, produce a very damaging cocktail at a time when you need a healthy body and a clear mind in order to get back on track financially.
For a start you are going to require debt advice from someone who knows what they are doing. That is true if you are in negative equity, have mortgage debt, are routinely dogged by a shortfall in your income and outgoings or increasingly find life to be unaffordable. Unless that downward spiral is halted, you are en route to bankruptcy.
Cling to the positives; property debt/negative equity is not a problem provided you do not need to move. Need rather than want, note. Need is a necessity, want is merely a desire. Necessity arises as a result of having outgrown your home or being unable to pay the mortgage.
Mortgage debt is the more pressing concern. When your monthly mortgage repayments are in arrears, lenders start applying pressure. The threat us that you may lose your home.
You can try budgeting. You can opt for an austerity budget. But if you are in deep trouble, budgeting and budgets can only take you so far in trying to get out of the mess.
What you really need is reliable debt advice and the help of an expert who knows the law, is conversant with what banks can and cannot do, and so is fully equipped to advise you as to your best options in getting started afresh.
If you have property debt or mortgage debt, if due to changed circumstances – your lifestyle now is unaffordable, or if you have an income-outgoings shortfall each month, Get proper debt advice NOW rather than delaying in the hope that things somehow will be okay.