Depressed? It Could Be Your Debt

As of July 2013, the average American credit card debt was $15,325, and the average student loan debt was $32,041. (See also: How Much Does Your Credit Card Debt Cost You?)

Reading those numbers makes me think about my own lingering student loan debt, and that gives me a clenching feeling in my stomach.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one who feels stressed about debt. Moreover, for some people, debt might not just cause stress — it can also lead to depression and even poor phyisical health. This month, the journal "Social Science & Medicine" reported that, in a study of 8,400 young adults,

...high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure. These associations remain significant when controlling for prior socioeconomic status, psychological and physical health, and other demographic factors.

And that financial strife doesn't just affect our personal lives. A study released earlier this summer also noted that financial arguments early in a marriage are the number one predictor of divorce.

Basically, if you think that your finances are causing problems beyond your wallet, you're not crazy. And the faster you get out of debt, the faster you might be on the road to better mental and physical health. Take a look at this article on how to start fighting debt — today. Or, if you're already working on paying down your debt, check out my piece on 15 ways to pay back student loans faster.

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Depressed? It Could Be Your Debt

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Guest's picture

It is no surprise that this kind of debt is depressing people--young or old. I call the flow of money out the window (to pay debt or whatever) in excess of income "Cash-Burn." And just like it's namesake, heartburn, it causes terrible distress. The best thing that anyone suffering from cashburn can do is to put everything they can into paying off that debt--and learn as quickly as possible to live below their means. I write about it on my blog at I hope more people read this and other articles like it BEFORE they take on the debt in the first place.

Guest's picture

It isn't too surprising that debt takes a toll on mental health, which can spill over into physical health. Anyone that has been in debt for any length of time can attest to the stress that goes along with worrying about making those monthly payments, particularly if you are in a precarious position with regards to your job. A good way to improve mental, physical, and fiscal fitness...get rid of debt!