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The Invisible Cost of Debt: How it Affects Your Emotional Health

The Invisible Cost of Debt: How it Affects Your Emotional Health


Money is one of the biggest stressors in life, and debt can be a significant source of financial stress. The impact of debt on mental health is well documented, with studies showing that high levels of debt can lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional health issues. However, the emotional toll of debt is often overlooked. In this essay, we’ll explore recent Canadian studies that have examined the connection between debt and emotional health, and offer practical solutions to help those who are struggling.

The Emotional Toll of Debt

A study conducted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada in 2018 found that Canadians with high levels of debt were more likely to report feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. The study found that debt-related stress can lead to negative emotional states, including irritability, anger, and feelings of hopelessness.

Another Canadian study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2019 found that debt can negatively impact self-control and decision-making. The study found that individuals with high levels of debt were more likely to engage in impulsive spending behaviors and were less likely to save for the future.

The Link Between Debt and Relationship Issues

Debt can also have a significant impact on relationships, which can further exacerbate emotional health issues. A Canadian study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues in 2017 found that financial stress, including debt-related stress, was a significant predictor of relationship dissatisfaction and conflict. The study found that couples who reported higher levels of financial stress were more likely to experience marital problems, including a greater likelihood of divorce.

Strategies for Managing Debt-Related Emotional Health Issues

Managing debt-related emotional health issues requires a multi-faceted approach. Seeking professional support from a mental health provider is crucial in addressing anxiety, depression, and other emotional health concerns.

Creating a budget and setting financial goals can also be helpful in managing debt-related stress, which can in turn alleviate some of the emotional health issues associated with debt. Practicing self-care, like exercise and mindfulness, can also help to alleviate emotional symptoms and improve overall well-being.

The Importance of Seeking Help

It’s essential to recognize the importance of seeking help for debt-related emotional health issues. Addressing these issues together can be a key part of finding long-term solutions and improving overall quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional health issues related to debt, don’t hesitate to reach out for support and resources.


Debt can have a significant impact on emotional health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. By understanding the link between debt and emotional health, individuals can take practical steps to address these issues and improve their overall well-being. With resources and support available, there’s no need to struggle alone. Remember, it’s never too late to take control of your financial well-being and prioritize your emotional health.

Additional Resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1.833.456.4566.

Calgary Counselling Centre – Open to all Albertans

 Canadian Mental Health Association

Read more about mental health and debt on our site:

  • The Link Between Mental Health and Debt in Canada: Understanding the Connection and Finding Solutions
  • The Hidden Costs of Debt: How it Affects Your Physical Health
  • How Seeking Help for Debt-Related Stress Can Boost Your Cognitive Function
  • Debt and Mental Health: Why Men Need to Pay Attention
  • The Cost of Debt: How Children Pay the Price
  • Women and Debt: The Mental Health Toll
  • From Addiction to Recovery: How Debt Can Hold You Back and CreditLift Can Help

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