Playing helpless witness to a growing epidemic with no cure takes us back in time. The Hippocratics called it the “art” of medicine. It does not take a psychiatrist, however, to see that this “artful” approach frequently fails in public health crises.
Twenty five years ago, “hikikomori” was a new term in Japan, used to describe severe and prolonged school refusal in teenagers, sometimes evolving into complete social withdrawal. The shut-in phenomenon has since gone global.
Is it possible to add creative twists to proven therapeutic techniques in order to encourage reluctant patients to try safe and effective treatments that we believe can benefit them? After reading the case, tell us what you think.