Mental Health and Financial Debt

Infographic summarizing impact of debt on mental health.

Vicious Cycles

Every one of us has made poor financial choices at one time or another. But often times those choices are made under duress. Agreeing to a desperately needed medical procedure, purchasing groceries on credit, or trying to get a better job by taking expensive classes—these are decisions made when your back is against a wall. Medical bills can be jaw-dropping, groceries have to be purchased every week, and student loans never go away.

When you have to prioritize those debts over living expenses—like rent, utilities, and transportation—you can quickly end up in a vicious debt cycle. It doesn’t take long for a modest income to be completely spent before you’ve even covered the basics—no matter how careful you are. This is the domino effect.

Anyone with a calculator can see how easily a delicate budget can be blown. But how does debt impact people mentally?

Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Hiding your head in the sand is no way to deal with your problems. But staying up night after night won’t solve a financial crisis either. Controlling anxiety when it feels like your life is falling apart is easier said than done. Full-blown panic attacks can make it difficult to work, leading to even worse financial problems.


The shame that often accompanies debt and poverty can keep individuals from seeking support from friends and family. Worse yet, people in debt often don’t have money to participate in social activities like movies, dinner dates, or sports—driving them even further away from their community. This kind of isolation is itself a major contributor to depression.

Alcohol & Drugs

* The temptation to escape the extreme emotions that come with debt can be quite strong. Alcohol and drugs may seem to provide a much-needed break from the mental exhaustion of excessive debt. But establishing a pattern of self-medication will most likely create far more dire problems.

Deterioration of Relationships

The stress of financial debt can easily seep into personal relationships. Short tempers, nervousness, and an inability to focus can leave loved ones feeling cutoff. In the worst cases, debt can actually lead to the break-up of families.


Don’t think for a minute that the world, your employer, your friends, or your family is better off without you, for any reason. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 right now. No matter how much money you owe, it will never come close to how much your life is worth.

Call Today for a New Start

If you're ready to take back control of your finances, call 301-589-4597 or email me at to discuss your options. I offer free consultations to those enduring severe financial strain in Maryland and Washington D.C., including areas around Baltimore, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Wheaton, Upper Marlboro, Bowie, College Park, Laurel, Frederick, Hagerstown, Hyattsville, Salisbury, Towson and Glen Burnie. Let me help you make a new start today.