Can Student Loan Debt Hurt Your Mental Health?

Posted on August 15, 2016 at 12:00pm by
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Do student loans have you feeling anxious and depressed? If you have worries over student loans, you are not alone. Research conducted over the years has found an unsurprising link between student loans and negative mental health symptoms. Most recently, researchers with the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust in the United Kingdom have connected student loans with excessive drinking, anxiety and depression.

Studies conducted in the United States have come to similar conclusions. According to a study carried out by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, student loan borrowers with higher debts reported severe depressive mental health symptoms.

If these symptoms sound familiar, please be aware that there are activities that can help with anxiety and depression.

Activities That May Help Ease Worries Over Student Loans

When we say ‘take your mind off excessive debts,’ we do not mean ‘ignore the problem’. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it exists in the first place. While you are developing strategies to reduce your debts, you can benefit from participating in healthy activities.

Exercise: According to a 1999 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, aerobic exercise can help reduce the symptoms of major depression. Why might this be the case? Exercise causes an increase in the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which are responsible for controlling your mood.

Video games: Video games have been found to help with depressive symptoms. Researchers from Stanford University conducted MRIs on gamers and discovered the reward pathways (responsible for the release of dopamine) in their brains were stimulated. Video games also require players to focus on accomplishing goals, whether it is to beat the last boss or solve puzzles. Also keep in mind that not all video games cost money, and many have rich online communities where you can converse with other people.

Find new activities: If you already exercise and play video games to treat depression, new activities can also help. According to mental health researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, new activities can increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. So if you already play video games and exercise, pick up a new book, go rock climbing or find another new and exciting activity.

Strategies for dealing with your student loans are another issue. If you are going to enjoy these activities, just be sure not to ignore handling your loans. Keep in mind, that we regularly update our blog with information on helpful programs for reducing or discharging student loan debts.

The Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm can help struggling student loan borrowers manage their debts. Confronting financial problems and speaking with a professional about options may help you feel better.