Debt Stress Becoming a Major Pain in the Neck .. And Back … And

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Washington (AP) For a growing number of Americans, debts aren't just rough on their wallets, but also on their bodies.

When people are dealing with mountains of debt, they're much more likely to report health problems, too, according to an Associated Press-AOL health poll. Those problems include ulcers, severe depression, even heart attacks.

A psychologist who analyzed the survey for the AP says millions of Americans are “suffering terribly” due to their debts. Those are people reporting high levels of debt stress and at least three stress-related illnesses.

Medical research has linked chronic stress to a wide range of ailments.

And the current tough economic times and rising costs of living seem to be leading to increasing debt stress. An index tied to the AP-AOL survey says it's 14 percent higher this year than in 2004.