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Headline climb in hospital admissions for stress

Admissions for stress highest in working age adults, while admissions for anxiety highest in the elderly

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Admissions to hospitals for stress rose by 7 per cent last year in England, provisional figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

Hospitals in England dealt with 6,370 admissions for stress in the 12 months to May 2012, 410 more admissions than in the previous 12 months when there were 5,960 admissions. Admission rates were highest among working-aged people (aged 18 to 60).

Stress admissions rose by more than admissions overall, which increased by about 2 per cent. More men were admitted for stress (54 per cent of admissions) than women, and admissions generally increased with age until 50, when they declined steadily. The North West had the highest admission rate for stress, while the South West had the lowest.

In contrast to stress, admissions for anxiety fell by almost 3 per cent over the same time period, from 8,810 to 8,590, and admissions were highest in the elderly.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “It might be assumed that stress and anxiety are conditions that result in a journey to a GP consulting room rather than a hospital ward. However, our figures suggest thousands of cases a year arise where patients suffering from stress or anxiety become hospitalised in England.

He added that there was a marked contrast between stress and anxiety admissions. “On one hand, stress admissions have risen by seven per cent to 6,370; while on the other anxiety admissions have fallen by three per cent to 8,590. Despite this shift in balance however, many more cases of anxiety were admitted than for stress.

“There is also a clear difference in the likely age of a patient admitted for one of these conditions. While working-aged people account for the highest rate of admissions for stress, it appears hospital admissions resulting from anxiety are more amongst the elderly.”

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