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Sunday, February 23, 2020

How Debts Affect Your Mental Heath?


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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

Money is vital to daily human living. People work at different jobs to earn a living and have some savings. Even the basic needs of a human being; food, shelter and clothing require money. People have said that money is power and it answerers all things.


On a lighter note, I recall a time when I fell very ill, and no medication seemed to get me back to health as expected. A friend who had heard about my state of health placed a call through and requested that I sent her my account details.

Just like magic, the minute I received a credit alert I was up and about like I was never sick. That’s a funny tale, but it is not far from a fact that money has psychological effects on a human being whether we choose to agree or not.

However, there are times we run out of cash and have bills to pay. In times like that, some people result in seeking a loan from a bank or from friends to meet their immediate need and repay at a later date.

Some people are lucky enough to spend ahead of payday and have their expenses deducted from their pay check, but not everyone is that lucky. When you need money urgently, finding an interest-free loan is almost as tricky as finding water in a desert.

A times, one might think they’ll make the cash borrowed back before its payback time so the easily let go of valuable items as collateral but not every time do things go the way we plan them. Let us discuss the effect of loans on your mental health.

The history of money lending

DebtsBefore the creation of money, people engaged in trade by the batter. You offer what you have in exchange for what you need. Nations build and acquired wealth through the batter system. However, when people began to realise that they were not getting the equal value of the what they gave out in return, there arose the need for a means of payment that would be both measurable and acceptable to both parties in a transaction.

When money first surfaced on earth, it was not like the currencies we now spend. Cash took the form of different things in different places around the world. In some areas, it was animal teeth, cowries, seeds, metallic objects, specific kinds of stones, Ivory or live animals etc. With time, people in some parts of the world began to use gold and silver as they were more valuable than other forms of money that were used before then.

When real money began to creep in as a recognised mode of payment, people wanted to be able to store up some of it and also borrow when they needed some. The first type of banks was private individuals during the Roman empire days.

These specific people were able to save and lend out money to farmers who needed to borrow with the minimal interest rate.  Towards the last days of the Roman empire, these private money lenders began to fade off the scene and were replaced by the wealthy people who occupied the upper class of the society.


As religion became a common practice, religious leaders around 326AD made a law that any loan that attracts above 1% interest rate per month usury. The reason for this declaration was the belief that money was created the play the role of a medium of exchange and not to increase interest for its owners.

The Jews at that time took advantage of the money lending practice despite the low-interest rate because Christians were not allowed to engage in money borrowing practices that involves interest.

The Jews were able to lend to non-Jews who wanted to borrow, and they made so much wealth from this practice. However, because of the absence of collateral, the lenders were at risk of loss as they transacted based on trust.

In ancient Rome and Greece, Pawnbrokers was not about to take the same risk the Jewish money lenders were taking. A person would need to possess valuable items that will be issued as collateral before he or she could get a loan from a pawnbroker.

This was a safer means of the transaction for the pawnbrokers as people would want to get their properties back. The benefit of patronising a pawnbroker was the fact that the interest rate on money was as high as that of unsecured forms of borrowing.

Today, banks and other financial institutions are in charge of giving out loans at varying interest rates. The rate at which people apply for loans and mortgages these days in making these financial institutions more prosperous in their line of trade year in year out.

The psychological effect of bills and debts

When you realise that you have bills to pay and no money in the bank, your head will begin to spin faster than a fan as you think of where or who to borrow from.  Borrowing to settle your bills will further lead to incurring debts that are going to put you in a messy mental state till you can repay them.

One of the first thing owing does to a person is to strip them of their self-esteem, lose the ability on focus and freak out. This means that knowing within yourself that you owe some money disturbs your sanity until you become free of the debt.

Does debt lead to mental illness or it’s the other way around?

When it comes to owed debts and psychological illness, both phenomena can be the cause of each other. What I mean is that having a mental illness can cause a person to run into debts and incurring debts can lead to mental illnesses.

When a person is mentally unstable, they are unable to make reasonable financial judgements and are likely to overspend. People who have habits like impulse buying or and those who have become addicted to shopping are very vulnerable to bankruptcy and debts. Owing debts will not make a person schizophrenic, no it won’t.


It will, however, might make the debtor live in denial, increase one’s stress level and cause anxiety, lead to insomnia as such a person will lose sleep due to excessive thinking, make you depressed, and trigger several other behaviours that may lead a person to become completely nuts.

Many debtors live in denial of their debts thinking it will never come due for payment. Some people avoid the lenders or even exhibit violent behaviour when the lenders come for their money. For financial institutions like banks, these debtors ignore phone calls till charges are filed against them.

Pessimism is a character that comes with owing debts. People who have incurred debts are usually expecting the worse to happen and when they see no light at the end of the tunnel, some of them may begin to nurse suicidal thoughts.

How to solve mental health problems caused by debts?

No matter the kind of psychological problem a person develops as a result of owing debts, the cure and the fee for treatment is the same. Seems weird right? Here’s how it works.

Once a debtor can pay off his debts, everything else about him becomes better. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that you owe nobody nothing makes you feel rich even when all you have left is a few dollars to purchase your next meal.

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