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Modern-Day Hermits: The Story Hikkomori in Japan and Beyond

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Published on Nov 29, 2012

Alan Teo
11/8/2012
In recent years, Japan has been struggling with hundreds of thousands of young people who have retreated into their very own bedrooms. Called hikikomori, they are modern-day hermits who disdain social contact and are unable to work or go to school for months or even years. Using the lens a physician—but also careful to consider psychological, social, and cultural factors at play, Dr. Alan Teo reviews the nature, scope, and ramifications of this epidemic of social isolation. He further considers whether hikikomori exists elsewhere in the world and what we can do to address the problem.

In this talk, Dr. Alan Teo answers three main questions:

1. What is hikikomori?

He provides a definition of hikikomori, and also describes the scope and scale of the problem.

2. What causes hikikomori?

He discusses what is known and not know about the biological, psychological, and social factors. He directly addresses the question of whether hikikomori exist beyond Japan.

3. How does hikikomori relate to psychiatry and mental health?

He explains the diagnostic puzzle of hikikomori, and how it relates to various psychiatric disorders. He also considers potential treatment options for hikikomori.

The learning objectives of this presentation are to:

1. Become familiar with the definition and features of hikikomori

2. Appreciate biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that may contribute to hikikomori

3. Understand the connection between hikikomori and mental illness and treatment approaches

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    • Standard YouTube License

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