Whether you have a mortgage, credit card balances, student loans, medical bills or another type of debt, you know how crippling it can be. According to credit card company Discover, Americans have an average household debt of more than $130,000. If you feel like you are sinking further into debt, you may wonder what happens if you simply ignore it. 

While ignoring debt may seem to be irresponsible, the consequences of doing so may not appear immediately. Still, like with most problems, delinquent debt eventually catches up with most individuals. As such, rather than ignoring your debt, you probably want to consider all your options, such as bankruptcy protection

Medical debt 

Even if you have health insurance and manage your finances well, you may end up with a medical emergency that puts you into potentially extreme debt. While you may be able to negotiate the amount you owe with your healthcare provider, you may have more debt than you can pay. If you do not pay, though, you may find yourself defending a lawsuit. That is, either the healthcare provider or a collections agency may sue you for unpaid balances. 

Student loans 

In 2018, over half of all college students took out a student loan to pay for tuition and other expenses. The average loan amount that year was $29,800. Like with medical debt, unpaid student loans may result in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, garnishment is apt to follow. A portion of your future wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits may automatically go toward repaying student loans. 

Mortgages 

Owning a home is part of achieving the American dream. If you fail to pay your mortgage, though, it may go into default. Eventually, your lender may foreclose on the property. If an auction does not cover the loan balance, you may be responsible for paying the difference. 

Regardless of the debt type, ignoring it can have some serious consequences. Accordingly, while addressing outstanding balances can be both intimidating and stressful, you must not simply hope your debt goes away on its own.