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Anxiety: hospital admissions highest in women in their late 60s

February 19, 2014: Hospital admissions for anxiety increased with age and were highest among older women, new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

Hospital admissions for anxiety increased with age and were highest among older women, new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

In the 12 months to November 2013 almost three out of ten anxiety admissions were women aged 60 and over (2,440 out of 8,720, or 28 per cent)3, with 65 to 69 the most common age group of female patient admissions (437, or 8 per cent of all female admissions). The most common age group for male patient admissions was 45 to 49 (279, or 8.5 per cent of all male admissions).

Today's report also looks at hospital admissions for stress which were highest in girls aged 15 to 19 years (295) and men aged 40 to 44 years (343)and three quarters of patients were under 50 years old (74 per cent or 3,580 out of 4,840).

The pattern of admissions for anxiety or stress by age and gender was similar to the previous 12 months, however total admissions fell by over 2 per cent for anxiety (from 8,930 to 8,720) and almost 14 per cent for stress (from 5,610 to 4,840).

The overall trend in admissions by age showed that anxiety admissions increased with age and stress admissions amongst adults aged 45 years and above decreased with age.

The report published today focuses on a special topic which is part of a wider monthly publication of all NHS-commissioned provisional inpatient, outpatient and A&E activity in England. For all hospital admissions for anxiety or stress between December 2012 and November 2013:

  • Women accounted for three in five anxiety admissions (62 per cent or 5,440) whereas more than half of stress admissions were men (55 per cent or 2,660) and this was similar to the previous 12 months (63 per cent and 55 per cent respectively).
  • Almost nine out of ten anxiety cases (89 per cent or 7,750) and eight out of ten stress cases (78 per cent or 3,760) were emergency admissions.
  • One in five anxiety cases were diagnosed with high blood pressure (19 per cent or 1,660) and one in four stress admissions had a personal history of self-harm (25 per cent or 1,230).
  • Merseyside Area Team had the highest rate of admissions for anxiety and stress (29.7 and 18.4 per 100,000 of the population) and Thames Valley Area Team had the lowest rate of admissions for both conditions (7.2 and 2.0 per 100,000 respectively).4

pdf icon Chart to show rate of admissions due to anxiety and stress [147kb]

Alan Perkins, CEO of 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."

Read the full report


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England and from approximately 200 independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The HSCIC liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Figures refer to recorded admissions and are reliant upon the accurate and complete recording of cause of hospital admission. Submissions from the independent sector in particular have improved significantly in recent years.

3. Counts of figures under 1,000 are exact and figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

4. Rates per 100,000 of the population have been rounded to one decimal place.

5. Definitions of stress and anxiety from NHS Choices: Anxiety on NHS Choices ( and Stress on NHS Choices (

6. 'Admissions' refers to the total number of finished admission episodes including emergency admissions. Please note that these data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted or treated on more than one occasion.

7. The codes used within this press release are available under the primary diagnosis section (ICD-10) and are:

F06.4 Organic anxiety disorder
F40 Phobic anxiety disorders
F41 Other anxiety disorders
F93.0 Separation anxiety disorder of childhood
F93.1 Phobic anxiety disorder of childhood
F93.2 Social anxiety disorder of childhood

F43.9 Reaction to severe stress, unspecified
Z73.3 Stress, not elsewhere classified
F43.0 Acute stress reaction
F43.1 Post-traumatic stress disorder
F43.2 Adjustment disorders
F43.8 Other reactions to severe stress

8. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.

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