Hikikomori Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Hikikomori syndrome: symptoms, causes and treatment

One day you wake up and decide to abandon all your social activities. The habits and routines you had until that moment completely collapse. You evade all responsibility and look for a place to be completely voluntarily isolated from society for a long time.

It seems that all interest in being in contact with friends and family disappears. Perhaps you have heard about this, know someone close to you, or it has happened to you. We are talking about Hikikomori syndrome, a serious psychological disorder that mainly affects adolescents and young people. In this PsychologyFor article, we will provide you with information about Hikikomori syndrome, its symptoms, causes and treatment.

Symptoms of Hikikomori syndrome

Hikikomori syndrome has some manifestations that must be taken into account in order to detect it. This psychological disorder has as its main characteristic behaviors that tend to avoid all contact with society, even with the closest people. In many cases, adolescents and young people who suffer from this syndrome can lock themselves in their rooms and not come out for months or years.

The most important symptoms of Hikikomori syndrome are the following:

  • Sadness and insecurity in front of people.
  • Lack of healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Minimum isolation time of six months.
  • They don’t have friends.
  • Lack of interest in daily activities.
  • Excessive use of technology.
  • They are often made fun of by other people.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Low tolerance for frustration.
  • Anemia and body weakness.

Causes of Hikikomori syndrome

We can find different types of causes of Hikikomori syndrome depending on the focus of the problem. Here we will point out the main causes that can be triggers.

Family factors

One of the causes of Hikikomori syndrome is great pressure that some parents put on their children to achieve certain goals in life. These situations are related to goals not met by the parents. In this way, they place personal demands on their own children and subject them to enormous frustrations, anxieties or anguish.

Many adolescents and young people seek to isolate themselves completely as a form of alleviate those responsibilities they feel in their lives. On the other hand, unpleasant experiences in the past leave memories that affect the lifestyle that a person can have today. This may include having suffered rejection from parents, being excluded from family situations or having been overprotected as a child, among others.

Social factors

The pressure that society imposes regarding meet certain ideals of happiness It can cause sadness, anguish and/or uncertainty. Many groups of social belonging They work based on sharing certain habits, customs, ideas and activities.

Therefore, these social factors can be causes of Hikikomori syndrome, since they can cause some People feel like they don’t deserve to be in those groups and their way of responding to these situations is through isolation. It is common for them to feel the responsibility of being within the parameters that society suggests, which translates into a lack of self-esteem.

Economic factors

The job instability experienced by many young people can generate a lack of confidence in your own abilities. Often, this is experienced with great discomfort that causes frustration, anger, distrust of others and fear. Therefore, these may be the causes of Hikikomori syndrome.

People who go through this type of economic difficulties may have their mood affected and the consequences may be related to social exclusion.

It is important that we know that these causes do not necessarily indicate Hikikomori syndrome, since we must also take into account lifestyle, medical history, social environment, age, sex, among others. In all cases, andThe diagnosis must be made by a health professional to care for the patient. This will allow the appropriate treatment to be provided depending on the person’s characteristics.

Hikikomori syndrome treatment

The treatments available for Hikikomori syndrome are diverse and have particular characteristics that define them. Let’s see what are the treatments to prevent Hikikomori syndrome and treat it:


Psychology offers the possibility of treating the symptoms of Hikikomori syndrome by looking for alternatives that provide greater security to the patient so that they can gradually emerge from total confinement. Many psychotherapies provide exercises that the patient must do to overcome the anxiety, fear, frustration and anger of being within society.

Other therapies focus on understanding how past situations influence current behaviors. This usually brings relief to the patient and allows them to modify their attitude towards life. On the other hand, there are group therapies in which activities are carried out that provide the patient with tools to face situations within society. Among the most important psychotherapies are psychoanalysis, short-term therapies, family therapy, psychodynamic group psychotherapy, among others.


In many cases, to treat Hikikomori syndrome it is necessary for the patient to visit a psychiatrist. Certain medications can help the person get out of the total confinement in which they find themselves. Medication can positively influence in the emotional state of those who suffer from this syndrome. However, it is important that psychotherapy can be performed to treat the emotions that affect the person.

This article is merely informative, at PsychologyFor we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hikikomori syndrome: symptoms, causes and treatment we recommend that you enter our Clinical Psychology category.


  • De la Calle Real, M., Muñoz Algar, MJ (2018). Hikikomori: youth social isolation syndrome. Magazine of the Spanish Association of Neuropsychiatry. Vol. 38 (133), 115-129.
  • Mora, GP (2018). Hikikomori syndrome: An emerging reality in the West. Interpsyche XIX International Virtual Congress of Psychiatry. Retrieved from: https://www.psiquiatria.com/congresos/pdf/1-1-2018-10-pon6(1).pdf
  • Pelaez, J. The two cases of Hikikomori syndrome in Spain. Recovered from: https://www.culturacientifica.com

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