5 Ways Debt Affects Your Life

Published July 2021
Many holding credit cards

The stress of out-of-control credit card debt can ruin your life in many ways, affecting your mental and physical health. Learn how seeking debt relief can help.

Key Points:

  • Debt affects your life financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
  • It can cause anxiety, depression, and mental illness.
  • It can cause a host of physical health problems.
  • It can lead to debt denial.
  • Addressing your debt problem can alleviate many of these effects.

According to CreditCard.com, 40.7% of Americans with credit cards carry a balance from month to month, and Experian reports that the average American holds 3 credit cards and carries an average credit card debt of $5,897. Taking into account that only 33.7% of American credit cardholders pay off their credit cards in full every month, those carrying a balance likely have significantly more debt than the average listed above.


(Source:  American Bankers Association 2020 Q3 Credit Card Monitor)

The Financial Cost of Credit Card Debt

The cost of credit card debt is staggering. If you carry a $5,000 balance on an account with a 15% APR and you make minimum payments on that account, it will take you five and a half years to pay off the credit card. Worse yet, you will pay a whopping $2,343.89 in interest fees alone. That is a lot of wasted cash.


(Source: Calculator.net)

Non-Financial Effects of Credit Card Debt

Manageable debt (debt that can be handled with smart budgeting techniques without undue concern) does not have a noticeable negative impact on the lives of most people. In fact, for most Americans, secured debt such as mortgage loans or auto loans are simply viewed as normal expenses and budgeted for accordingly.

However, there is another kind of debt that has a much different impact. Unmanageable debt, or debt that has spiraled out of control, can have some significant negative effects, not only financially, but mentally, emotionally, and physically as well.

Debt-Related Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Illness

Stress is a natural reaction for someone carrying a heavy debt burden. Because unmanaged debt can ruin your credit score, it is all too easy to get caught in a vicious cycle of debt, with no apparent way out.

A feeling of helplessness about your financial situation can easily lead to another negative impact, depression. When financial concerns leave you feeling vulnerable and anxious, depression can set in.

Sadly, the constant stress of debt and the depression and anxiety it creates amplify the likelihood of mental illness. Science has long known that being in debt raises your risk of developing a mental disorder. According to a landmark 2013 study, debtors are three times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not struggle with debt.

Chronic stress can also trigger a wide range of other problems such as changes in appetite, nervous tics, procrastination, etc.

Debt-Related Social and Family Problems

Debt affects families in many ways. A heavy debt burden keeps some families from being able to live in the type of home or area they desire. Debt can also make family members feel trapped in an unrewarding job or unable to finance a good education for children. Additionally, it can delay the retirement of older family members.

Conflicting money styles, such as the saver versus spender conundrum, can lead to significant tension as well. Debt problems are a major cause of conflict and strife within the family. Financial stress and the resulting marital friction are great predictors of divorce. According to a 2019 poll, financial issues are at least partly responsible for 36.1% of all divorces.

Physical Effects of Uncontrolled Debt

The constant stress and anxiety of out-of-control debt also take a physical toll on the human body. Financial stress can:

  • Induce debilitating headaches
  • Upend sleep patterns
  • Affect your ability to focus
  • Encourage substance abuse and all its related problems
  • Cause unnatural weight gain or loss
  • Cause you to neglect self-care

The Danger of Debt Denial

One of the most insidious ways debt can impact your life is that it can lead to denial. Many people who carry a heavy debt burden fail to seek timely debt relief because they refuse to accept they have a debt problem.

Denial can be a powerful coping mechanism when you are dealing with financial stress, but it is not a healthy one. Ignoring a debt problem offers only short-term emotional relief, and its consequences can be negative.

How can you tell if you are in debt denial? Here are some clues:

  • Intellectually, you know you have a debt issue, but you have no desire or plan to address it.
  • You are hoping that things will just “work out” without you having to change any behaviors or make any efforts to address your debt.
  • You pay no attention to the details of your bank/credit card statements.
  • You find yourself opening new credit cards without taking care of the balances on your existing credit card accounts.
Denying a debt problem tends to increase poor spending habits instead of suppressing them. If you recognize that you may be in debt denial, do not hesitate to get some debt relief help.

ClearOne Advantage Provides Real Credit Card Debt Relief

No matter how dire your financial situation is, there are credit card debt relief options available to you. The good news is that you do not have to handle your debt completely alone.

ClearOne Advantage has a team of debt relief professionals who are standing by to help you. It all starts with a simple phone call. Call 866-481-1597 to speak with one of our Certified Debt Specialists, who will help you design a plan that fits your budget and addresses your needs.

You can get out of debt. You can reverse many of the negative consequences of carrying a heavy debt burden. And you can do it starting now. Contact us today to get a free savings estimate.

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The data and statistics referenced come from multiple credible resources that are cited throughout. ClearOne makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information from these various resources and are providing the content for informational purposes only.

Topics: Credit Card Debt