Cannabis is not an effective treatment for mental health conditions, conclude experts
Senior author Alan Teo, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry in Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and a researcher and psychiatrist in the VA Portland Health Care System, said the medical profession hasn't traditionally recognized social isolation as a health issue.
"There is a cultural issue within the house of medicine whereby we don't pay attention to it and don't think it is in our lane to deal with," he said. "These are shared problems, whether it's an 80-year-old Portlander who's a meals-on-wheels recipient living by herself or an 18-year-old with hikikomori in Japan."
Ironically, modern tools to improve communication may be having the opposite effect.
"With advances in digital and communications technologies that provide alternatives to in-person social interaction, hikikomori may become an increasingly relevant concern," the authors write.
Spending time online can be damaging when it substitutes for interacting with people face to face, Teo said. Those person-to-person social relationships are a critical aspect of mental health.
Your social life is critical to your quality of life - yet in health care, we often forget to think about that. A person's day-to-day social life is really what brings them meaning and value." Alan Teo, M.D., senior author
In addition to Teo, the other authors included Takahiro A. Kato, M.D., Ph.D., and Shigenobu Kanba, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyushu University in Japan.
The recommendations published online today in World Psychiatry represent an outgrowth of earlier collaboration between the three authors, including a perspective published in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2019. Source:
Oregon Health & Science University Journal reference:
Kato, T. A., et al. (2020) Defining pathological social withdrawal: proposed diagnostic criteria for hikikomori. World Psychiatry . doi.org/10.1002/wps.20705 .
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