March 18, 2013 10:50 AM

Years ago, I read a fascinating study from Reuters Health about debt and its effect on one’s health. The conclusion was amazing. Not only is debt harmful, credit card debt is the worst kind of debt.

This was later confirmed by an Associated Press — AOL Health poll. The term “stress” is fairly broad, but this study reported how stress plays out. Would you believe those in credit card debt are more likely to have ulcers, severe depression and even heart attacks? It’s true, and it may be affecting you.

So, how are you feeling? Are you experiencing panic attacks? There could be a correlation. Headaches, depression? Digestive issues? Uh-huh. Could be that big load of debt you’re dragging from one month to the next.

If you are truly suffering, I hope you are seeing a physician who can help you treat the symptoms. I doubt, however, if any doctor is prescribing the one thing that will cure the stress and all of its fallout. So I’ll do that: Stop adding to your debt, and get started on a plan today to get out of debt. Once. And. For. All.

Look, I know that’s easy to say. And you’re right, I don’t know your specific situation. But I know what it’s like to be in debt. I know that feeling of hopelessness, of not being able to fall asleep and then being terrified to wake up. I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the heart pounding that happens every time the phone rings.

I have been in horrible debt. And I got out.

I don’t write this column every day because I love to write (I do, by the way). I write it because I have such a burning passion to help people who are stuck in debt to get out and to stay out. I love to teach people with ordinary incomes to do extraordinary things with what they have — like pay back their debt and go on to debt-proof their lives.

So, are you sick and tired of being sick and in debt? Good.

That’s the first step. And you have to get mad. I mean really angry about what you’ve allowed debt to do to your life, your family — your health! It’s time to start fighting back.

Next, you need to get a plan — one that will allow you to continue living and paying your bills, but also to start whacking away at your debt.

I can’t promise you that in a year from now you will be debt-free. But I can promise that if you will follow a plan, a year from now you could be on your way to being debt-free.

There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for getting out of debt.

Believe me, I know. But if you’re interested in debt-proofing your life, check out my story and The DPL Plan at DebtProofLiving.com. I’m there every day to encourage and walk with you as you turn your life around.

To your health!

Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2012 release, “7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future.” You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

Disclaimer: Copyright © 2017 Indiana Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.