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The mental health consequences of debt

Anyone who has ever owed money will know that feeling you get in your stomach every time you think about it.  That horrible sick feeling like someone is clutching your insides is a constant companion when you're in debt.  Every time the phone rings, you worry it's your creditors chasing payment and you find your mind keeps going back to worrying about money.  These are the familiar acute effects of debt stress but, sadly, it has longer term detrimental effects on mental health too.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists points out that being in debt can lead to feelings of helplessness because people can see their debts mounting up but feel unable to do anything about it.  So much in business seems to be beyond our control and being in a situation where you can see things getting worse but can't fix them can be the most stressful thing ever.  It can affect our self-worth and make the situation even harder to talk about.  We often see people who have been very reluctant to talk about their business debt situation and this makes people feel very isolated and unable to seek help which, obviously, adds to the feeling of helplessness.

Accumulative effect

Because debt causes so many negative feelings and leads to a great deal of worry, the effects of it can accumulate over time and lead to the sort of underlying stress that doesn't go away.  Long term stress is bad news because it actually alters the way your body works.  Our body's natural reaction to a perceived threat is 'fight or flight' and your body prepares you for these reactions by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your blood.  In the short term, they increase heart rate, release sugar into the blood stream, heighten your awareness and deprioritise functions like the immune system, digestive system and reproductive system.  This is a good thing if you did need to fight off an attack or run away but when those chemicals remain in the blood through prolonged stress, they can lead to serious problems.

Long term effects of stress

These longer term problems related to stress include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

Obviously, suffering from any of these problems on top of trying to get your business out of debt makes things even harder.  That's why it is so important to tackle the problem before the serious stress issues can build up and create problems of their own.

It's totally ridiculous to tell people to not be stressed out by debt.  Of course they're going to be stressed.  The only thing we can do is to help business owners bear the burden of their debt to negate that feeling of helplessness and make them feel the problem is being taken care of.  As part of our debt management service, we deal with creditors to stop that sick feeling in your stomach every time the phone rings and work with you to take away the worry of debt to find you the best possible outcome from your situation.  To talk to us about how we can take the stress out of your business debt, please call 01323 446644.


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R2B Business Solutions,
Archer House,
Britland Estate,
Northbourne Road,
Eastbourne, BN22 8PW

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