More than two thirds of UK adults are thought to be having issues with debt, but millions are burying their heads in the sand over their problems.
Research by The Co-operative Bank found that 70% of people admitted to having debt problems, but that almost a third (29%) are not prepared to confront the issue.
The findings also show that those in debt do not believe they have money worries until they have accumulated an average of £1,247 of debt in overdrafts, credit cards or loans.
Worryingly, some of those in debt are turning to gambling in an attempt to claw themselves out of their predicament.
More than one in eight said they had turned to gambling and the lottery, while one in 20 are in debt to payday lenders, with around a quarter admitting to being in debt for five years or more.
The research also shows that half the population (50%) has slipped into further debt in the past year, with the average debtor building up £325 in extra debt since Christmas alone.
Reasons for the debt 'pile up' include the rising cost of living (28%), increased energy bills (28%) and rising fuel costs (16%).
Robin Taylor, head of banking at The Co-operative Bank said that it is no surprise that people are feeling the pinch at the moment, but that it is a worry to see that so many people are choosing to ignore their problems.
"Our research also shows that the 'debt alarm' doesn't go off until people owe more than £1,000, which can be a real struggle to pay back," he added.
"Managing your money with steps such as writing a list of incomings and outgoings and regularly checking your bank account will help you get on top of your finances now before problems get any worse."
If you are struggling to pay your bills every month, it could be worth seeking advice on how to deal with your debts.
Debt advice specialists such as the CCCS will offer free and impartial advice to those with debt problems.
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