The fact that there is a definite link between mental health issues and economic problems is one that isn’t given the attention it needs. Depression statistics UK shows that 25% of the people who suffer from depression in the country are usually in some form of debt or the other. As is evident, it’s a serious problem right now, so let us try and understand the issue further, while we delve in and try to find viable solutions as well.
It’s a Vicious Circle
It is particularly difficult to point out which is the cause of the other, because it’s a vicious cycle. Depression is often caused by poverty, debt and other economic problems that keep people from living a fulfilling life, and that is to be expected. However, psychological effects of chronic and acute depression can also lead one to take financially disastrous decisions which would ultimately lead to money problems. Be it depression or poverty/debt, whatever the initial cause might have been, one continues to fuel the other once the cycle starts.
How Depression Affects Financials
Now that we know it affects our financials, it is time to understand how this particular mental illness brings about that effect. A depressed person usually suffers from two main real world issues, aside from the melancholy itself; 1) lack of the ability to focus on something 2) working memory. The brain fog which depression patients often complain about is a result of impaired psychomotor functioning. Now, it isn’t hard to imagine how these conditions can affect judgment in financial matters, especially the complex ones. Managing money is not easy and even people who do not have any brain impairment often fail to do it successfully, so the act of trying to manage money while you are depressed is just a disaster waiting to happen. Even routine financial tasks take longer to complete and strains the mind much more than it should. As the depressive episode reaches its peak, handling complex monetary aspects not only becomes tough, but impossible. Lack of energy, concentration, motivation, working memory and clear thinking ability ultimately leads to financial decisions made on guesswork and skipping of important routines. The result of all this surmounts to bad decisions, financial failure, debt, poverty and even more severe depression.
Common Signs that Depression is Affecting Your Financials
While it is never a good idea to handle important money matters when you are under the influence of a depressive episode, things are not always apparent enough. Then of course, there is the question of chronic depression which persists for an indefinite amount of time when left untreated. This is why it is a good idea to look for the following signs and symptoms that may indicate that your financial decisions are being impaired by the effects of depression.
- Missing deadlines often and paying more in the form of fines and penalties
- Feeling unmotivated about tasks and objectives that should appeal to you or used to appeal to you earlier
- Making financial decisions based on guesswork rather than hard calculations
- Finding the task of handling and focusing on financial matters more difficult than you did before
- Buying things that one cannot afford to, just for feeling better
- Inability to control impulses, aka impulse shopping
Not Everyone Understands the Problem
Unfortunate as it is, the link between depression and debt is neither acknowledged nor addressed as much as it should be. Even psychiatrists and therapists often fail to connect the dots between the two because it is not common practice yet. The good news is that the issue has at least started getting more attention than before thanks to resources like Mental Health and Money Advice. They are a dedicated source of advice, tips, support and solutions to every type of financial problems which patients with mental health issues often have to face on a regular basis. The site is also a good source for educating yourself if you have someone around you who is suffering from the effects of depression and financial issues at the same time.
Addressing the destructive cycle of depression and poor economic conditions is not a simple task by any means, but it needs to be done primarily on two fronts; breaking the cycle and treating the problems. This involves breaking habits by force and getting treated for depression to begin with, but that’s not all. You will likely need the temporary help of someone close to you or someone whom you trust for handling money matters on your behalf. It could be a long or a short journey to get back to your former self, but know that it can be done because depression is a controllable disorder. Certain steps may feel harder than the others and you may even feel vulnerable as you give up control of your financials, but it’s only a temporary step in most situations, which is a lot better than going bankrupt.