Overwhelming debt is an issue that many face in Michigan, and bankruptcy provides a path to a fresh financial start. Those who are still struggling under the weight of smothering debt may not realize what kind of an emotional effect that excess debt can have. Those who have a hard time paying bills may be more anxious, more depressed and less happy in general.

According to Money Crashers, one of the first emotional signs of financial trouble is denial. Some consumers will ignore bills, leave them unopened, rationalize impulsive purchases and underestimate how much they owe. While it is easy to convince oneself that debt is just the American way, the truth is that denial can lead to even more stress.

Once debtors have worked through the denial phase, the stress sets in. According to Debt.org, this can lead to loss of focus, nagging worry and lack of sleep. This is where fear and panic set in and can become actual physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, the shakes, a headache, dry mouth or shortness of breath.

Anger and depression usually round out the emotional effects of debt. Consumers start to blame the economy, creditors and even the mailman for delivering their bills. This can be a stressful time in any relationship and can reduce resistance to infections, increase risk of heart disease and cause migraines. Depression and hopelessness then set in along with low self-esteem which often leads to more debt as consumer try to buy their way out of depression.

Finally, relief comes in the form of bankruptcy. Excessive debt is not just the result of poor choices. It can also be caused by an unexpected medical illness or injury, the loss of income or an unplanned divorce. Not everyone can control what happens in their life, but bankruptcy provides an out that allows consumers to shed the worry and depression that can come from excessive debt.