Money and Depression-Cause or Effect?

by Matt B

Sad ClownCan depression cause money problems? Can money problems cause depression? Are the problems exclusive?

Cause or Effect?

Many people suffering from depression have money problems. While I’m absolutely positive that the depression may not be the direct effect of problems with finances, there is without a doubt an undeniable correlation. I want to be clear here: I do not speak of depression as a mood, but as a condition. We all get depressed at times, but some of us have a constant state of depression which requires medication and treatment. So can money problems be a cause of this devastating disease, or does the depression come as a result of the financial issues?

  • Health Care
  • Here in the U.S. most of us dread health care expenses. It could be our premiums for insurance, an expensive procedure that may force us out of work, a diagnosis that will drain us financially (that may be fatal) or just lack of any insurance coverage. All of these scenarios can leave us broke and may lead to depression. Health care is expensive no matter how you look at it. If health care costs are one of the financial daggers pointed right at your heart, the best thing to do is surround yourself with friends and family. You do not want to spend even more for medication to help your depression, so keep your loved ones close. They may just save you some cash, even though you will probably never realize it.

    Expensive health care could probably be considered both a cause and effect of depression…fortunately, there’s plenty of expensive medication that doctors can prescribe to help you out!

  • Large Expenses
  • Did you just spend $3500 on a living room set that you know you can not afford? What about that treadmill you bought to get back in shape? Have you ever seen that much dust before on one appliance? Probably not. Some large expenses come with a void the size of the bill you are left with. Spending on large items, whether necessities or wants may just leave you broke and feeling empty inside. Large expenses may be a cause of depression, but also may be an effect…see “binge spending”.

  • Job Loss
  • Getting fired or laid off is often a quick road to depression-ville. There is almost nothing that takes more of a toll on your psyche than being told you are not needed or wanted any longer. Unfortunately, this unfortunate and often unexpected event is usually followed by money problems. The ultimate double-whammy. This one can definitely be considered a cause of depression.

  • Low Salary
  • Many of us do not make a lot of money (myself included). While I feel as if I do plenty to improve my situation financially, many do not. Being stuck in a “dead end” job or profession may get you down. Some people can get past the low salary and do plenty to improve their financial situation, and some do nothing. Those who do nothing will most definitely feel unfulfilled, and many may suffer from depression sometime in their lives. Low income is one of the easiest fixes in your financial life. It may not seem so, but it is easier than you think. This can be considered a cause of depression, but if this depression is already affecting you, it may stunt your financial growth (especially in the job market).

  • Poor Budgeting/Money Management
  • If you can not take care of your money, it will never take care of you. Poor management of finances can easily lead to depression, along with plenty of headaches for the rest of your life. This one is without doubt a cause of depression. It is only lack of intelligence that will cause you to make poor money decisions, it can not be blamed on depression.

  • Binge Spending
  • Even though there are only a few choices above that are effects of depression, binge spending may be the worst for your finances. If you are depressed, you may spend money you do not have. Like an alcoholic flocking to booze, or a drug addict falling “off the wagon”, it does not take much for a binge spender to go off the deep end. One aggravating event can send the binge spender to the store to break out the credit card and cause a deeper chasm. One of the worst repercussions of binge spending (other than huge amounts of debt) is the unfulfilled feeling that one gets afterward. Sure, nice things are great. If you are spending money on things you do not need, they are not nice things…they are just things.

    Ok, so there are no direct correlations between depression and money problems. I did not actually think I would find any, but I did want to bring to the surface a connection, because (in my opinion) there is one. If you comment on this post, please be sure to comment about what a fool I am for thinking there is any link at all.

    Photo Credit: PetroleumJelliffe through Flickr

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    Carnival of Personal Finance: The House of Rose Edition
    July 27, 2009 at 6:20 am


    L.Smith January 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    For the first time in a long time, your article was well received. Everything you wrote about was pretty much understandable.. I have had the experiences you’ve written about and my spouse has too. I think that a depressed state of mind is directly linked to money issues/problems. I cant help but notice the effect personally when I’m out of funds due to bills that need paying out of my low income. My husband had a great job that a friend took over the company his mother owned and she literally back stabbed him and this family by removing all health and life coverage, and worse, she yanked $85K from his income in a matter of 2 years. She maintains that she wants the ‘best’ for our family and always did want that for us.. which is exactly why she smiles while delivering bad news and basically ruined our family financially. I wonder if she’ll ever read this article and realize that because of what she did to us, we had to endure a winter without heating oil and that we could barely put food on the table, could not pay our mortgage and subsequently lost our home to foreclosure.. It was through my own efforts and prayers that I was able to save this family. I scraped and saved over $6K and moved us far, far, away.. away from all the control freaks that plagued our lives. My husband did suffer a depression. His mother owned the franchise.. and the day he was no longer working, was the day I went to work.. But his money management skills were in need of help. He was partly to blame for the situation we were in, and it was ME that had to fix everything. I realize there is this thing called personal accountability.. and while this back-stabbing friend did the most horrific thing to my family, it was also my husband who did not handle things properly.. and there I was stuck in the middle. I was having to deal with his 14 hour days at the job.. 6 and now 7 days a week.. at her demands, so it was impossible for me to get employment around her greedy demands. I realize she is living the life of luxury now. I wish her all the best this world has to offer because I’m quite sure that the afterlife is going to be slightly different for her. She has no idea how many nights I cried myself to sleep over what she did to our financial situation.. she started the ball rolling, my spouse was too weak to handle it, and his depression was noted when I’d come home and he was just laying on the sofa with the clicker in his hand. I’d have been working all day on my feet, putting 5 miles a day on my feet in sales, and come home and see that every single room in the house was completely trashed. I was beyond devastated at how poorly the situation was going and getting worse every day.

    I moved our family to a resort in the south.. I moved us to a place that people come to vacation. I saved up the money and did what I needed to do.. but can I tell you? I still suffer from depression because we can barely live week to week.. I actually shop at the dollar store for food.. and sometimes, if I’m able to, I get to shop at wal-mart.

    All my life I have been cheated out of things in one form or another.. My father died when I was 22.. he was only 47. I never had a bridal shower.. I had 30 people at my wedding. I literally drove myself in my ford escort to the wedding.
    I had 3 days at my boss’s shore home as my honey moon.. and ironically the back stabber and her husband came along.. it wasn’t much of a honey moon.

    I have never been given anything in life. Everything I’ve ever gotten in life, I have had to work for. Years ago, I worked for an attorney and he used to say, how is it that you are always so happy.. you have nothing… it’s amazing… and well, deep down inside, I guess I was happy because I was for sure that ‘something’ would happen if I stayed happy.. some type of ‘security’ would be there in place.. or some day I’d get my piece of the pie. … I never really did. ..and now years later.. 20 some years later, a mother of 2, and wife who is the santa claus for the family..the bill payer, the food shopper, the maid, the cook, the.. whatever .. I’ve noticed I’m not as happy as I used to be.. I dont think I have ‘depression’ because it’s never for more than 2 weeks at a time that I’m depressed.. but I do suffer depression and directly link it to when I am broke. I hate being what most call in poverty.. and unfortunately, this is how my life has turned out to be. I was definitely cheated out of the finer things in life, for sure.

    john August 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

    i cant stand people think that when peopel are feelong depress they can just take a pill and be better not true its like a drug dope person trying to manage there daily lives some peopel can get out of it if they belive in juses like as if the devil try to bring u down its true

    cheree October 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Thats all I hear is what we dont have, We have a house 2 healthy kids, 4 cars a boat 4 wheelers motorcycles , tractors, and so on but its not enough I get depressed and shop and dont mean too. then I hide it. We live pay check to pay check,, we have a rental property but we let his mom live in. these days 100,000 just is not enough for a single income family to live on.

    RayWright April 19, 2012 at 2:35 am

    The hypotheses involving neurotransmitters are not supported by consistent evidence; they are merely hypotheses to explain how antidepressants may work.

    Reserpine has an anti-serotonergic effect, and yet was the first chemical to show an anti-depressive effect in a randomised controlled trial (More information in David Healy’s _The Antidepressant Era_) That’s not to say that antidepressants may not work through other mechanisms.

    tom May 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I have two pages of financial info from banks that will show anyone how too get the most credit and whatsequence is needed too get money that you can use and get in ways others ave no idea I use too live in he streets I learned how too use this method it was given too me from a man in the bank that was high up he did me a favor on how too pull myself up and use a korean variety store as a address for the mail is the funny part of it all trust me you will be astonished at what I learned too get ahead in life you will say I’m a genius with 2 pages of grandizercash google it from hamilton canada peace..,the best part you don’t need too read a book to know how to do it like I did just a unassumed computer at the library and a korean variety store for mail and the money comes

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