One Citizens Advice Bureau has reported a massive surge in the number of queries from people seeking debt help.
Anne Bowen, manager of the Dorchester and district branch, made her comments to the Dorset Daily Echo, expressing concern that 2008 could be as bad “or even worse” than last year.
Levels of problem debt could be the result of Christmas overspending but also following issues such as ill health or redundancy, she explained.
“People also panic when they get into debt and they don’t tell anyone else in the family. Most situations are retrievable – for even the largest sums there are options,” Ms Bowen continued.
She urged those with problematic levels of borrowing to seek advice on becoming debt free.
The government advises anyone facing problem debt to take action as soon as possible and ignore the problem as it will become worse.
It suggests there are a number of routes out of debt which allow people to avoid bankruptcy, such as individual voluntary arrangements, a consolidation loan or debt management plan.