Hikikomori Case Study

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Within Western culture, social and cultural changes have evolved how people perceive themselves and others, resulting in a large increase in mental syndromes, such as anorexia and depression. While the western society has suffered from [body stereotyping..?], Asian countries have seen a rise in youth socially withdrawing for extended periods of time. In Japan, such a term is called hikikomori. It is a quickly developing syndrome in which adolescents “lock themselves away in their rooms for months, years, or even sometimes decades at a time, with minimal social contact” (Rosenthal and Zimmerman 82). Even though these syndromes are a result of different cultural backgrounds, they hold similar properties; both have the capacity to be considered…show more content…
Some experts have estimated that there may be as few as one million hikikomori within Japan’s population (Furlong 309). The most common behaviours are dropping out of school, finding a dependence on the virtual world or alternate reality, and confining themselves within their homes. However, the perception that they never leave their homes is a mistaken assumption. Some leave their homes on a daily basis, but will usually leave at a time that allows them to avoid social contact, such as early in the morning or late at night (Furlong 311). While these core behavioural features have been identified, the major issue as to why physiatrists are unable to distinctly define hikikomori is due to the vast number of behaviours being categorized under the same term (Rosenthal and Zimmerman 83). For instance, social isolation, the main component of hikikomori, may include diagnosis’s such as psychotic illness, anxiety, depression, and personality disorders (Teo and Gaw 445). Through these social pressures, hikikomori are forced to withdraw from society and face the risk of permanently being excluded from society, finding that assimilating back into society is nearly…show more content…
These requirements are that it “(1) must be a discrete well-defined syndrome . . . (2) recognized as a specific illness in the culture . . . (3) expected, recognized, and to some degree sanctioned . . . [and] (4) a higher incidence or prevalence . . . must exist in societies in which the disorder is culturally recognized” (Teo and Gaw 446). The first requirement of a culture-bound syndrome, that it must be a “discrete well-defined syndrome”, has been fulfilled. While a consensus has not been reached regarding a distinct definition of hikikomori, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, declared that the following criteria are the defining features of hikikomori: “(1) a lifestyle centered at home; (2) no interest or willingness to attend school or work; (3) symptom duration of at least 6 months; (4) schizophrenia, mental retardation, or other mental disorders have been excluded; . . . (5) those who maintain personal relationships (e.g., friendships) have been excluded” (Teo and Gaw
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