Navigation Links Adds Up the Emotional Costs of Foreclosure With the Five Stages of Foreclosure Grief

BERKELEY, Calif., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Losing your home to foreclosure can feel as traumatic as the death of a loved one. And with so many Americans facing this dreaded possibility -- more than two million U.S. homeowners are currently in default, according to USA TODAY (Nov. 11, 2007) -- it's important to acknowledge the psychological effects as well as the financial and practical ones.

In her seminal book On Death and Dying, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages that dying patients commonly experience when given a terminal prognosis: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

"Not everyone goes through these stages in the same order," says Dr. Jeff Wood, licensed psychologist and author of Getting Help. "People experiencing foreclosure, while it's not a life-threatening scenario, will have similar symptoms," he added.

Denial. "People commonly ignore the first warning signs of impending foreclosure -- the missed payment, the call from the lender, even the formal 'Notice of Default' that is the prelude to a foreclosure sale," says Stephen Elias, President of the Bankruptcy Law Project and author of Nolo's The New Bankruptcy: Will it Work for You? He adds, "Envelopes go unopened, notices go unread, and phone messages are quickly erased. If you're like many homeowners, learning that you might be facing foreclosure triggers fear of ending up in the street."

It's important to remember that foreclosure is an orderly process, Elias says. You'll get notice before the process starts and before the house is eventually sold, if it comes to that. It usually takes the lender quite a while to get the property into the hands of a new owner. Even then, in most states, the new owner has to give you a notice to leave, typically 30 days. In other words, you'll almost certainly have plenty of time to make new shelter arrangements.

"Avoidance," explains Wood, "is the core element of most anxiety disorders." While losing your home can be traumatic, avoiding the reality won't help your state of mind.

Anger. "When it finally dawns on homeowners that they might actually lose their house, they become angry -- with themselves, their spouse, or the lender," says Elias. "After all, it must be someone's fault that they signed a variable interest note that would reset much higher in a year or two, or that they bought a house they obviously couldn't afford."

Bargaining. Anger gives way to negotiation. People may try to strike a bargain with God -- "please just let me keep my house, and I'll get a better job and work harder and be a better person. ..."

Depression. As the foreclosure proceeds with no solution in sight, it's natural to be unhappy and feel insecure. They may feel that things are hopeless -- and so miss out on opportunities to fight the foreclosure or make the best financial decisions given the circumstances.

Acceptance. A homeowner who accepts the situation, and can move beyond denial, anger, and depression, can take steps to fix things. Even people who are behind on the mortgage may be able to keep their houses. Their first step should be to call a free, nonprofit foreclosure counselor, approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for help in working something out with the lender. You can find a HUD-approved agency at or by calling 800-569-4287. (Nolo's Bankruptcy Resource Center) has helpful articles on a variety of situations related to foreclosure. Additionally, bankruptcy or real estate attorneys may be able to offer creative solutions to keep people in their homes. Information about local attorneys can often be found through Nolo's new, free Lawyer Directory, which provides profiles of local lawyers (

Psychologists use a term called "radical acceptance," says Dr. Wood. "You don't have to like something, or agree it's a good thing. But the sooner you're able to confront it, the quicker you'll be able to recover from it."

About Nolo

Since 1971, Nolo's goal has been simple: To make America's legal system accessible to everyone. With hundreds of top quality, plain-English legal products, Nolo has helped make that happen. Every year, over 10 million people turn to Nolo to save billions of dollars. Visit for more information.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Stephen R. Elias Mary Randolph

Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
2. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
3. September 11th First Responders Lead Emotional Rally at State Capitol Tuesday
4. Empowerment Program Gets Patients on the PATH to Managing the Physical and Emotional Effects of Psoriatic Arthritis
5. Cancer patients, spouses report similar emotional distress, U-M study finds
6. Cancer patients, spouses report similar emotional distress, U-M study finds
7. What emotional memories are made of
8. Cancer survival is not influenced by a patients emotional status
9. Emotional State Doesnt Affect Cancer Survival
10. Penn researchers find emotional well-being has no influence on cancer survival
11. Emotional Intelligence and the use of tobacco and cannabis
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... Chicago, IL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... list are national leaders when it comes to several aspects of orthopedic care. ... as joint replacements, orthopedic surgeries and general orthopedic care. , Becker's Hospital ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Brillouin Energy Corp. Congress and Government officials ... renewable energy technologies capable of producing commercially useful amounts of thermal energy (heat) ... and HHT™ Boiler System reactor core modules were presented to Congress on Capitol ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... VA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... people across the United States to support their local poison centers through donations ... designated as #GivingTuesday: calls it “a day that inspires people to collaborate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Aided by seed funding from the Ron ... designed to yield insights into how to detect and treat pancreatic cancer (PC). ... from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic material that is present in the blood ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Rodney E. Willey , has answered a new calling – to relieve ... provides treatment for snoring and sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. He ... Disorders in the US, one of four in the Illinois area. , Dr. Willey’s ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Ascendant Solutions, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ... Board of Directors has declared a special 1 percent stock ... is payable December 14, 2015, to shareholders of record December ... of additional shares of common stock. ... is a strong endorsement of our confidence in Ascendant,s growth ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. ... Vice President of Clinical Services, Education and Human Resources will ... webinar, "Oral Oncology Drugs: Health Plan Strategies for a Dynamic ... Beckie Fenrick , a consultant with the Cambridge Advisory ... The webinar will discuss the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 st  Scientific ... North America (RSNA) taking place in Chicago ... Booth 1122, Hall A. --> st  Scientific Assembly and ... (RSNA) taking place in Chicago ... Hall A. --> Molecular Dynamics will present its revolutionary ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: