Actress Mischa Barton has spoken for the first time about her recent stay in a psychiatric unit in Los Angeles.

Barton – best known for her former role in TV series The OC – said that she had become “completely stressed out” when she was taken from her home to the clinic earlier this year.

However she denied reports that she had had a mental breakdown – and added that the reaction to her stay had been blown completely out of proportion.

“I was down in the dumps about everything there for a while,” she told Time Out New York.

“Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom about things and have to get the most stressed out just to feel better again.

“I got completely stressed out and couldn’t handle everything, and now I feel really in control.”

Barton added that her stress had been caused by a mix of constant travel fulfilling work contracts, and what she described as a “terrible” wisdom tooth operation.