The Psychological Impact of Personal Debt

Being in debt is more than just not having enough money — it can lead to a number of serious emotional and psychological issues.  And too many Americans find themselves not only drowning in debt, but also suffering psychologically as a result.

According to, the average American has $15,950 in credit card debt, and 39% of Americans carry credit card debt month to month. Student loans are a major contributor, since the average college student will graduate with a whopping $40,000 of loan debt. Add to this the debt from car loans, mortgages, medical debt, and personal loans, and the debt that arises from unforeseen circumstances such as divorce, major illnesses and being laid off, and it’s easy to see how debt-related stress is rampant in the United States.

Debt affects different people in different ways. Some people suffer sleepless nights and unsettling emotional responses over the smallest late payment, while others may not worry until loan and credit card balances top $100,000 and become unmanageable and overwhelming.

The compassionate and understanding Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer  have helped thousands of people get a control of their finances.  We want to help you get out of debt and live a healthier and less stressful livestyle. We offer a free consultation to examine your sources of debt and determine what you can do to get out of debt, relieve the stress, and get started on the road to financial recovery.

Debt and Psychological and Emotional Issues

The following are the most common psychological and emotional consequences of debt:


It is natural to have stress and worry about how you’re going to deal with increasing debt and whether you’ll ever get out from under it. Many people in debt find themselves continually worried, unable to fall asleep or eat properly. Eventually, stress prevents them from functioning at work, as they worry about the catastrophic effects should they lose their job, and also at home and in their daily lives and relationships. Persistent stress of this kind can lead to serious physical and psychological problems.

According to an Associated Press/AOL study, people dealing with debt are more likely to report health problems, many of which are brought on by stress, anxiety, and depression. And the higher the debt-to-asset ratio is, the higher the likelihood of experiencing stress.


People in denial try to block out the reality of their debt problems, even when bombarded with reminders and overdue notices. They may refuse to open bills and bank statements, throw out late notices, and continue to spend compulsively, ignoring their deteriorating economic condition. This leads to getting even deeper into debt until eventually something really bad such as threat of foreclosure or legal action, forces them to deal with reality.


Being in debt leads to very real fears, as the repercussions can be devastating. If debts mount to where you can’t make payments, you may fear eviction or foreclosure on your home, your utilities getting shut off, or debts going to collection agencies. You fear that any additional problem such as losing your job, or a major car repair, might push you over the financial edge.

You may be afraid to answer the phone because it could be a creditor or collection agency, or fear to open your mail as it may contain a late bill notice. You are afraid of what may happen next, of never getting out of debt, and your fear negatively affects your relationships with family, friends and co-workers.


Debt can make you angry, especially if it arises from unforeseen events such as a job loss, divorce, identity theft, a death in the family, major repair to a home or car, or unexpected medical bills. If you got into debt because you did something foolish, made unnecessary purchases, didn’t save enough money, or made poor financial choices, you may become angry at yourself. Or you may direct your anger at others, such as your boss for not paying you enough or your family members because they spend money and you have to support them. Anger can cause you to act impulsively and do things and take chances that wind up getting you into trouble and creating even more debt.


When negative feelings have built up over a long time and your debts have become the overriding issue in your life, sinking into a deeply depressed condition is a danger. Depression is a state of hopelessness and feeling that things cannot be fixed or changed. A depressed person may withdraw from the world, stay in bed all day, weep uncontrollably, or turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain.

Shame and Embarrassment

If you’re in debt, you may feel embarrassed or ashamed about it, since our society values success and making money. Most people try to hide their financial problems and don’t want their family and friends to know they’re struggling with debt.  This can lead to more debt if they spend more to try to keep up their image — going out for expensive dinners, buying gifts that they can’t afford, and trying to keep up with others.


Eliminating your financial burdens can relieve the accompanying negative psychological effects, from stress to increased health issues.  Relief is possible if you take practical steps to deal with your debt, such as systematically paying off your credit cards. If it becomes necessary, filing for bankruptcy is a way to eliminate many of your debts and get a fresh start on the road to financial and emotional recovery.

Contact Us and Get Help

If you find yourself drowning in any kind of debt, don’t let your problems mount up to where they are affecting your emotional and physical health and relationships. Take the first step toward debt relief and CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

During your consultation at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer, we will evaluate your entire financial situation and determine the best fit for your particular circumstances.  We will make sure you are aware of all your options and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case.  We know the system and will walk you through the process every step of the way.

Delaying can only worsen your situation, so call the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer today.  Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

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