Examines the Rise in Post-Recession Suicides

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Trends in the suicide rate tend to rise and fall with the economy. spoke with experts to get a sense of why those in debt are more prone to suicide.

Through interviews with psychiatrists, lawyers, rehabilitation facility owners and people who experience the financial crisis first hand, explored the link between mounting personal loan debts and depression and suicide.

Between 1999 and 2010, the suicide rate among 35- to 64-year-olds rose by nearly 30 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found that the suicide rate is, to some degree, tied to the economy. As people’s financial lives deteriorate many turn to ending their own lives.

Lisa Bahar, a licensed clinic counselor, told that debt drives people to destructive coping mechanisms such as food, drugs and alcohol. As signs of stress begin to physically manifest themselves, a person’s sleep patterns and appetite change.

As psychiatrist Dr. Caroline Lieberman explained, debt and depression are linked in part because severe debt leads to the sense of loss and self-loathing that characterizes depression.

“Depression comes from a sense of loss, and financial problems typically reflect loss — loss of a job, loss of an investment and so on,” Lieberman said. “Depression also comes from anger directed inward toward the self, and people who are in financial trouble often blame themselves for it.”

David Leibowitz of Lakelaw, however, believes that depression leads to debt more often than debt leads to depression. As people try to self medicate with shopping sprees and overspending the numbers start to add up, until the consumer eventually files for bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcy solves the financial symptom but not the underlying problem,” he said.

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