What Effect Does Debt Truly Have on Your Health?

The Impact of Debt on Your Health: A Deep Dive into Canadian Statistics


Uncontrolled debt is a significant issue in today’s society, particularly in Canada. The effect of debt on your health is profound, and it’s not just about financial stress. This article explores the health implications of high levels of debt, providing insights into how it affects Canadians’ mental and physical wellbeing.

The Frightening Statistics

Canada is a country where debt is a part of life for many citizens. According to Trading Economics, Canadians’ personal debt levels rose to an alarming 174.05% of gross income in 2019’s second quarter. Environics Analytics further reveals that the national debt service ratio stands at 8.4%. In the most financially strained areas, a shocking 22% of after-tax income goes towards interest payment.

Health Effects of Debt

High levels of debt don’t just strain your wallet; they take a toll on your health. Finnish researchers reviewed 33 peer-reviewed studies and concluded that indebtedness has severe health effects. Here are some of the significant health implications of debt:

Increased Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled debt can lead to increased blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The constant worry about making ends meet and paying off debts can trigger stress hormones that raise your blood pressure.

Anxiety and Depression

The effect of debt on your health is evident in the mental health sphere as well. High debt levels can lead to anxiety and depression. A study found that individuals with greater debt reported stress levels 11.7% higher than average. Additionally, adults aged 51 and older were more likely to report depressive symptoms when they had high unsecured debt (like credit card balances) and felt out of control with their financial circumstances.

Chronic Pain

Believe it or not, your financial situation could be giving you a literal headache. A survey found that 44% of people with high levels of “debt stress” reported frequent migraines or other headaches. They were also more likely to have muscle tension, back pain, ulcers, digestive tract problems, and even heart attacks.

Relationship Strain

Debt can strain relationships. In a 2012 study published in Family Relations, it was found that newlywed couples who disagreed about financial issues at least once a week were more likely to divorce within five years than those who argued about other issues.

The Warning Signs of Debt

Knowing the warning signs of debt can help you take corrective measures before it’s too late. These signs include:

  • Persistent sleep disruption due to financial worries.
  • Using one credit card to settle another’s debt.
  • Consistently bouncing cheques or carrying overdrafts.
  • Regular arguments with your partner about money.

The Root Causes of Debt

Understanding the root causes of debt can help in devising effective strategies to combat the problem. Here are three primary ways individuals get into financial trouble:

  1. Lack of Budgeting: Many people don’t keep track of their spending. Small expenditures like daily $5 coffees can quickly add up.
  2. Absence of Savings: Without savings, an unexpected expense can create significant financial stress.
  3. Living Beyond Means: Many individuals fail to differentiate between needs and wants.

Seeking Help

Feeling overwhelmed by debt often leads people to seek help. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the help is legitimate and not from companies claiming to assist but are unqualified or receiving kickbacks.

Moving Forward

Overcoming debt is a challenging journey, but it’s crucial for your health. Financial stress can lead to serious health issues, both physical and mental. Therefore, it’s essential to manage your finances responsibly and seek professional help if you’re in over your head. Your financial health is directly linked to your overall wellbeing—the effect of debt on your health is real and significant.

Final Thoughts

The effect of debt on your health is a pressing issue facing many Canadians today. However, with awareness, discipline, and the right help, it’s possible to navigate the stormy seas of debt and come out healthier on the other side. Remember, your health, both mental and physical, is your wealth. Don’t let debt rob you of it.

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