Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy turns lives around by eliminating debt. Our clients are proof that by filing Chapter 7 you can get a fresh start and be free from the burden of debt that is holding them back financially, emotionally and even physically. Dealing with debt problems is a heavy burden to bear and it often causes stress and anxiety. The American Psychological Association’s annual stress survey revealed that approximately one-quarter of Americans experience high levels of stress with concerns about money, jobs and the economy being named as the top sources of stress for many. Unfortunately, unpaid bills can harm your health, arguably even more than it harms your credit rating.
Flight or Fight: Your Response to Stress
Your body is equipped to deal with fear by preparing you to either flee or fight. Our bodies do not always distinguish between fear and stress; therefore, when you experience stress because you cannot pay your bills and bill collectors are calling you every day demanding payment, your body may interpret this as a “threat” and begin its flight or fight preparation. Your automatic nervous system puts your body on alert as your heart begins to beat harder and more rapidly and your breathing becomes more rapid. The adrenal cortex releases stress hormones and the thyroid gland stimulates metabolism.
Research has shown that over an extended period of time, the repeated activation of the flight or fight response due to stress has negative physical and psychological effects. Prolonged stress can cause high blood pressure, fatigue, clogged arteries, insomnia, depression and severe weight gain or weight loss. Individuals who suffer from debt problems caused by events that are beyond their control, such as a job loss, the loss of a spouse or a prolonged medical illness are at even a higher risk for serious health problems due to prolonged periods of stress.
A Stress-Reducing Solution
Fortunately, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide a solution for those suffering with the stress of debt problems. Through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor is able to discharge or “wipe out” unsecured debts. With your legal liability to repay these debts removed, you’ll finally feel a sense of relief and reduced stress levels. You’ll be able to begin rebuilding your finances and recovering from the life event that caused your debt problems, without the unhealthy side effects of financial stress.
A Life-Saving Solution
A few years ago a young father lost his job and did not qualify for unemployment. As the months passed, he searched diligently for a new job but the small town where he lived with his family was suffering under the hands of the struggling economy. He did his best to put food on the table, but after a few months he had used the last of his savings and had nothing left to sell. His relentless stress got to him in the end. He collapsed from complications due to high blood pressure and was hospitalized. His wife had suggested filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy a few months ago, but he refused because it was his job to pay the bills. When he was hospitalized, his wife insisted they consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorney explained how filing Chapter 7 could relieve their debt problems, and that they shouldn’t feel at fault. Debt has the ability to cripple even the wealthiest men. The husband reluctantly agreed, the bankruptcy discharged the debt and he was able to move his family to another town to find work. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy probably saved his life, as his health would surely have continued to deteriorate if the stress of unpaid bills remained.
A Relationship-Redeeming Solution
This is just one of the ways that filing Chapter 7 saves lives; however, there are others. As discussed above, money troubles are one of the leading causes of stress. It is also one of the leading causes of marital discord between couples. Couples report that they fight more about money than any other topic and, when they are struggling with financial problems, the fights become more frequent and more severe.
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can save a marital life by relieving the sources of the stress in the marriage and allowing the couple to find better ways to communicate in the future. For example, participating in the required credit counseling course and financial management education course that are required to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives couples the tools they need to manage their finances and communicate about money in a healthier way.
Most debtors are not facing death as they contemplate filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; however, there is no reason to continue under chronic stress when there is a solution. If you are struggling with financial problems, let us explain how filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could save your life.