Credit card debt in America is a daunting problem that hinders the growth and prosperity of this nation. Credit cards are ruining the lives of the American people. Americans now owe over one trillion dollars in credit card debt, which increases every year. All these debt is affecting the health of the American people and preventing them from achieving financial freedom. Credit card debt leads to many issues in America because credit card companies normalize debt that can cause depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Credit card usage can cause more problems with debt, but also increase one’s chance of depression. In today’s society, it is normal to swipe a credit card to buy gas, groceries, and alcohol. It allows people to buy goods without using cash. People spend more money than what they have which can cause depression. Majority of people who are in debt suffer with some type of mental illness. Depression can amplify the problem of credit card debt.
“It might be that debt leads to worse mental health due to the stress it causes. It may also be that those with mental health problems are more prone to debt because of other factors, such as erratic employment” (Richardson). If you have a mental illness, you are four to six times more likely to have debt. The people that are seeking help with their debt about half them have some type of mental issue. Treatment time for people with depression that have debt is eighteen months longer that someone who doesn’t have depression.
As well as, credit card debt contributes to depression in America. “Our results suggest that taking on unsecured debt may adversely influence psychological well-being’ (Berger). Debt can trigger a mental illness. It’s also easier to spend more money while frustrated. Depressive symptoms tend to increase as short-term debt rises. Furthermore, some college students are depressed because when they graduate from college they have staggering amounts of debt from credit card and loan debt.
“What they find themselves in is a high level of debt that they can’t possibly pursue the kinds of careers that they anticipated. This level of debt is really going to define their future and it’s going to have a significant long-term impact on American society” (Schechter). Some students are committing suicide because of their debt. Students may drop out of college because of debt and try to pay it off. Credit card debt exacerbates the problem of depression, but so does anxiety.
Anxiety is a very common problem that people face while being in credit card debt. Anxiety is an emotional and psychological problem that can be triggered by different factors. Financial anxiety about money increases credit card debt. “Financial anxiety can be described as a fear-based response or attitude towards one’s personal finances that is often connected to (or leads to) ineffective money management and suboptimal financial decision making” (Ford).
Not making enough money can trigger financial anxiety. Living from paycheck to paycheck causes stress and anxiety. Paying the minimum on the credit card bill keeps the person in debt longer and can cause anxiety. In fact, anxiety due to credit card debt majorly affects one’s well-being.
“My debts don’t let me sleep. They don’t let me to breathe or to live in peace” (Schechter). Anxiety can keep one up at night and stop one from sleeping. Anxiety keeps a person from feeling free because of the pressure to pay off debt. Anxiety can cause a hard time breathing due to a panic attack. Moreover, people are still immersed in credit card debt, which disturbs them. “The road to financial security is long even in the best of circumstances.
By carrying high levels of personal debt that road gets even longer requiring all kinds of detours and other twists and turns” (Holbrook). One should try to save 10 percent of your paycheck to help pay off debt. One could try to set mini goals for your financial situation. Do not spend more than what one makes because it will be continue the problem of debt. Having problems with anxiety over credit debt can lead to another problem such as substance abuse.
Many people are in debt with credit cards, medical, personal obligations, and even college loans. Debt can cause serious emotional effects such as substance abuse. Substance abuse due to debt is a serious problem in America. Someone with substance abuse will have a hard time holding a job. He or she will not pay their bills. They have no way to free himself from debt.
“During my addiction, I took out numerous ‘quick cash’ loans, high interest loans and pawned the title to my vehicle,” says Parnell. “My credit was destroyed” (Parnell). He was constantly maxing out his credit cards and by the time it was over he owed forty thousand dollars. A person could end up putting oneself in more debt due to drug use. One can hurt their physical and mental state by substance abuse. One may run the risk of ending up behind bars due to addiction. Second, substance abuse caused by credit card debt affects family.
“The actions of the addict impact all his or her loved ones and close friends, and it is often necessary for these individuals to get help as well” (Dequa). That person may put stress and fear into their loved ones because they believe the addict will hurt themselves or others. Family members will stop having faith in their loved one because of their addiction. Family and close friends will try to distance themselves from the addict. Finally, substance abuse due to credit card debt impacts the poor and middle class.
“Debt is a symptom of much larger economic and structural issue facing households one we’ve seen a decline in incomes or a stagnation of incomes particularly in the lower income households’ range and for middle income households” (Schechter). When a person makes less money and has a drug usage problem they tend to borrow more money. The more addictions to substance abuse in a community the higher rate of violence and poverty. The increase of people with an addiction hurts the community. The community will suffer with poverty because of debt and substance abuse.
Many Americans have debt. It can affect people in different ways. After researching credit card debt, credit card companies target consumers with not so good credit. They offer higher rates which will take longer to pay off. Debt does cause depression, anxiety and even substance abuse. There is no common tolerance for debt. People handle debt in different ways. People who struggle paying off their debt and loans are twice as likely to suffer with depression and anxiety.
Sometimes they feel hopeless that they cannot pay off their debt which could cause suicide. Many people who have substance abuse have a hard time working and paying their bills. They try to get money for their substance abuse and will use their credit card to get money. It becomes hard to pay off one’s debt. It is difficult to change’s one behavior that is why people at a young age need to learn how to manage their money.
- “Does credit card debt lead to Depression?” CNBC, 4 May 2015, https://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/04/does-credit-card-debt-lead-to-depression.html
- “Debt linked to mental health problems.” University of Southampton, 26 September 2013, https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2013/09/26-debt-linked-to-mental-health-problems.page
- Schechter, Danny and Joel Sucher, director. In Debt We Trust Documentary. A Global Vision Production 2014. (Schechter and Sucher 00: 10-11)
- “How to cope with Financial Anxiety”. Magnify Money, 13 May 2019, https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/news/fed-meeting/
- “Amid recession fears, almost half of Americans have anxiety over debt.” Mercury News, 19 September 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/09/19/amid-recession-fears-almost-half-of-americans-have-anxiety-over-debt/
- Schechter, Danny and Joel Sucher, director. In Debt We Trust Documentary. A Global Vision Production 2014. (Schechter and Sucher 00: 55-56)
- “The high cost of descending into drug related debt” Creditcards.com, 5 July 2012, https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/addiction-substance-abuse-financial-disaster-1264.php
- “Drug or alcohol Addiction: How to Heal as a Family.” Circle of Hope, 26 June 2019, https://circleofhopetreatment.com/drug-or-alcohol-addiction-how-to-heal-as-a-family/
- Schechter, Danny and Joel Sucher, director. In Debt We Trust Documentary. A Global Vision Production 2014. (Schechter and Sucher 00: 39-40)