More than six out of 10 hospital admissions for anxiety are among women, with those in their late 60s most likely to be admitted for treatment, new figures show.

Data for England reveals that 5,440 women needed inpatient treatment for anxiety last year, accounting for 62% of all admissions.

Women aged 60 and over made up the biggest age group, accounting for 28% of all admissions among men and women for anxiety (2 ,440 out of 8,720 admissions).

Women aged 65 to 69 were most affected, whereas among men, it was those aged 45 to 49 who were most likely to need hospital treatment for anxiety.

Today's report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also looked at hospital admissions for stress.

Girls aged 15 to 19 (295 admissions) and men aged 40 to 44 (343 admissions) accounted for most admissions in this area.

Three-quarters of all patients admitted for stress were under 50 (74%, or 3,580 out of 4,840 admissions). Overall, 55% (2,660) of admissions for stress were among men.

The figures also showed that hospital admissions in the 12 months to November fell by more than 2% for anxiety and almost 14% for stress.

Almost nine out of 10 anxiety cases and eight out of 10 stress cases were emergency admissions, with the highest rates of admission being in Merseyside, and the lowest in the Thames Valley region.

Alan Perkins, chief executive of the HSCIC, said: "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."

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: "Many women tend to take the caring role and it is not surprising that when they reach their 60s the emotional burden of care can become intolerable.

"The majority of the carers who contact us are women who may be responsible for partners facing illness, elderly parents or children.

"Women who find themselves bearing these responsibilities tend to neglect their own physical and mental health until they reach crisis point."