Lack of adequate money to pay off the bills can be frustrating and this financial strain can affect the mental health of a person. Though it is normal to feel worried during financial stress, the lurking fear of redundancy and debt can pull one down in the abyss of emotional distress. To escape the burden of constant anxiety, some people may take to substances, thus raising the fear of addiction.
A recent study by the University of Southampton and the Solent NHS Trust revealed how financial difficulties and incessant anxiousness about mounting debt can aggravate the risk of alcohol dependence and mental illnesses, such as depression, among students.
The study titled “A Longitudinal Study of Financial Difficulties and Mental Health in a National Sample of British Undergraduate Students,” published online in the Community Mental Health Journal in July 2016, found that students struggling to pay their bills exhibited deteriorating signs of anxiety and alcohol addiction. Also, the students under stress manifested damaging levels of anxiety and depressive behavior.
The scientists analyzed more than 400 under graduate students from universities across the United Kingdom. The scientists examined a host of financial factors, including economic opulence, recent monetary struggles and attitudes towards how they maintain their finances at four different times during their first year.
The research, divided into four different phases, enabled the scientists to understand as to which strikes first – financial difficulties or debilitating mental health. The researchers also realized that students who had given up the idea of further studies or getting themselves enrolled in universities due to financial constraints were at a greater likelihood of being afflicted with mental health conditions.
Impacts of debt – stress, fear, anxiety and addiction
The observations indicated that the onset of mental illnesses and alcohol addiction may increase the likelihood of being afflicted with financial stress and vice versa, thus, raising concerns about the chance of an impending vicious cycle.
Stressing on the findings, lead author of the study Dr. Thomas Richardson, a visiting academic at the University of Southampton and Principal Clinical Psychologist at the Solent NHS Trust, said, “The findings suggest a vicious cycle whereby anxiety and problem drinking exacerbate financial difficulties, which then go on to increase anxiety and alcohol intake. Interventions which tackle both difficulties at the same time are therefore most likely to be effective.”
Explaining how financial stress could be related to impaired mental health, Richardson said that attending universities can result in stress and financial struggles may result in prolonged anxiety levels. Though the amount and nature of debt varies for each student, the findings make a point that helping students manage their finances can go a long way in diminishing the effect of their worries on their mental health.
Nicky Passmore, director of student services added, “It’s important to us that our students can focus on their studies, and not be adversely affected by financial difficulties or mental health issues. We are proud of the range of services available and students know that our door is always open if they need help.”
Addressing mental health issues
Financial stress can ruin many lives and push people toward depression. Financial stressors destroy self-confidence and create fear of not being able to live up to one’s own expectations. When students suffer from mental problems, it is not enough to implement treatment options that only alleviate the symptoms of psychological disorders. Complete remission from the illness is required which can be achieved by adopting holistic treatment measures involving a host of medications and cognitive behavioral therapies.
Help is available for people suffering from any kind of mental illness. If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental problem, contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services and get instant help pertaining to any kind of mental disorder. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online with one of our experts to know about our various mental health facilities in the U.S.