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Hungarian young adults locking themselves up in their rooms – is it just a phase?

Hungarian young adults locking themselves up in their rooms – is it just a phase?

There is a Japanese word for young adults locking themselves up in their rooms and refraining from real-life human interactions: hikikomori. The mental disease first appeared in Japan, but it has been spreading in European countries too. What are the symptoms of this disorder? Does it affect Hungarian young adults too?

According to research, it does. While expectations towards teens and young adults increase, many of them choose to simply hide away from their problems and avoid any kind of social interaction.

A 22 years-old Hungarian woman, reports, is unable to leave the house after her mother’s death. She gets a panic attack at the thought of getting on the tram and going to the university. She gets by for 1.5 years, without going out of the house, or meeting her friends. When really needed, she goes to the university, but each time she must take a couple of sedative pills before leaving the house.

According to Katalin Skultéti-Szabó, clinical psychologist, similar symptoms always have their reason and have to be investigated person by person. But not only personal tragedies can lead to such conditions.


The symptoms

It all started in Japan: in 2013, 1 million Japanese people decided to not leave their rooms anymore.

They do not go to school or work, they do not do shopping, many of them have not left their rooms for a decade.

In the most extreme cases, parents are even unable to make contact with these teens: they just bring the food to the children’s room three times a day. And the teen only leaves the room while he or she goes to the bathroom – but even then, avoids any human contact. This disease, by the way, is more common with boys. These young adults live their life in the virtual space: they only have online connections. They spend most of their time in front of the computer, upsetting their sleep-wake balance.

Photo: pixabay

The reasons

We can ask ourselves the question: why would a potentially talented, young person lock himself away from society and real-life experiences at the ‘prime of his life’? Well, it has to do with social anxiety, and the fear of rejection. The causes must be looked for in the connections with peers, especially with the other sex. At the same time, they fear they would prove to be ‘weaker’ than other boys.

These teens bring a disgrace to the Japanese families. A very important difference between a hikikomori and a depressed person is that, while a depressed person is blaming himself, hikikomoris are ashamed of their situation.

Hungarian hikikomoris

Katalin Skultéti-Szabó psychologist says that the symptoms of hikikomoris can be found in Western patients as well, although we usually name these patients otherwise. Western society uses different phrases for expressing the same state, such as agoraphobia, psychosis, panic disorder etc.

In her own practice she had numerous cases when the patient did not want to leave their room and a relative turned to the psychologist for help.

The solution?

According to psychologists, naturally, these patients need therapy. In order for the therapist to get in contact with them, they should use online methods, such as Skype, chat, etc. The Hungarian specialist added that treatment should always be personalised.



1 Comment

  1. vili

    It’s our response to the crazy islamic invasion of Europe.
    Get rid of them all, and we’ll come out of our rooms!! 😉

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