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Link suggested between credit card debt and depression

Nearly everyone who has been in credit card debt knows how stressful it can be. Of course, overly aggressive and law-breaking debt collectors don’t help, but even when that is not a factor, having this hanging over your head can put a pall over your entire life.

Having a lot of short-term debt, like owing more on your credit card than you can afford, may actually cause something more serious than a few sleepless nights. It can cause depression, according to a study discussed in an article by CNBC. The higher the debt, the stronger the symptoms.

The study said that short-term debt seems to be more closely connected to increased depression symptoms than longer-term debt, like a mortgage. In fact, researchers said there is no link between mid-term and long-term debt and depression. However, the study’s lead author admits that his team based its findings on data from surveys that ended in 1994. Thus, the data did not reflect peoples’ experiences in the recessions of 2001 and 2008 or in the subsequent foreclosure crisis.

The most vulnerable to depression caused or made worse by credit card debt were unmarried people, those near retirement age and those with less education, according to the study. This research bolsters prior studies suggesting a link between onerous credit card debt and mental illness. It is not necessarily clear which factor causes the other.

Getting out of debt is possible, but nobody should have to put up with harassment from debt collectors. Many debt collection tactics are against the law, and are enforced by victims who take legal action.