Women over the age of 60 are most likely to be admitted to hospital for anxiety, health authority figures show.
In the 12 months to November last year, 28% of anxiety admissions in England were women aged 60 and over, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
The most common age group for anxiety in men was between 45 and 49. Meanwhile, girls aged between 15 and 19 were most likely to be admitted for stress.
The report is part of an analysis of data from hospitals in England, commissioned by the NHS. It analysed 8,720 admissions to hospital for anxiety, and 4,840 for stress, between December 2012 and November 2013.
Anxiety is a long-term condition, characterised by the inability to stop worrying, to the extent where a sufferer’s daily life is affected. It is linked with insomnia, difficulty concentrating and irritability, and affects about one in 20 adults in the UK.
Stress is not an illness, rather the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. It causes a surge of so-called “fight or flight” hormones in the body.
Women were more likely than men to be admitted to hospital for anxiety, the study found, making up three out of every five admissions.
But men made up more than half of the hospital admissions for stress, with levels highest in men aged 40-44.
‘Area for concern’
The report found anxiety increased as people got older, while stress admissions for adults over 45 decreased with age.
Alan Perkins, chief executive at the HSCIC, said: “Today’s report shows striking age patterns in admissions for anxiety, and some interesting age and gender patterns for stress cases.
“Hospitals have dealt with fewer admissions for anxiety and stress compared to last year but the higher rates of anxiety in the older generation could be an area for concern.”
People with anxiety and stress were most likely to be admitted during an emergency, the centre said. Merseyside reported the highest levels of admissions for anxiety and stress.