More middle-aged women suffered depression or anxiety last year than in 1993, according to a report from the NHS Information Centre.
The number was up by a third – from 14% to 18% – among those aged 55 to 64, and by a fifth – from 21% to 25% – among those aged 45 to 54. Young women also suffered more – 23% compared with 20% in 1993, while more women of all ages were affected more than men, 20% compared with 13%.
Meanwhile, one in 10 women of all ages suffered from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, almost three times the number of men.
The report – Adult psychiatric morbidity in England 2007 – was based on results from a questionnaire filled in by 7,461 people aged over 16 in England.
Across all conditions, the survey found that almost one in four (23%) people had at least one psychiatric disorder and those with a low income were most likely to be affected.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said: "We will be investing an extra £173m in psychological therapies by 2010–11 – therapies which are already helping to transform lives by offering effective treatment for both men and women with depression and anxiety disorders."