If it is an anxiety disorder on its own, the only reason for hospitalisation is for intensive treatment that can’t be carried out as an out-patient. This is only necessary in the severest cases of OCD and related disorders. Such cases are very rare and treatments are conducted in highly specialised units, of which there are only a handful across the country.
People with anxiety disorders commonly fear going mad – such fears are irrational; even the severest panic attacks can be treated effectively in the community.
In patient care is reserved for the severest cases of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and severe depression. In addition, admission is reserved for those at the highest levels of risk, for example those who not only have suicidal ideas (not fears of losing control and committing suicide) and in addition evidence of intent to commit suicide and plans to do so.
Just to complete the picture, anxiety disorders cannot be a reason for sectioning under the Mental Health Act.
Professor Kevin Gournay is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry. He has more than 35 years of experience and is the author of more than 130 articles and books. He is based in Cheshunt Hertfordshire.