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.