What is Taijin Kyofusho?
The Taijin Kyofusho is an obsession of shame, embarrassment, and anxiety. The Taijin Kyofusho refers to the fear of interpersonal relations and offending others. It is defined as the culturally bound syndrome predominantly in Japan and Korea by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (DSM-IV). It has been referred to as anthropophobia by the International Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders.
The Taijin Kyofusho has been divided into four subtypes in the Japanese Diagnostic system. These four subtypes are given below:
- Fear of blushing known as Sekimen-Kyofu
- Fear of deformed body known as Shubo-kyofu
- Fear of one’s own glance known as Jiko-shisen-kyofu
- Fear of body odour known as Jiko-shu-kyofu
The Taijin Kyofusho is also divided into four types based on its severity in Japanese psychology. These types are given below:
· Transient type:
It most commonly occurs in the teens. It is short term and moderately severe.
· Phobic type:
Phobic Taijin Kyofusho is the most common type of Taijin Kyofusho. It usually occurs before the age of 30 years. It is chronic and moderate to severe Taijin Kyofusho.
· Delusional type:
It is a delusional Taijin Kyofusho in which the individual is obsessed over his body or mind flaw. These flaws may change periodically over time.
· Phobic disorder with schizophrenia:
It is not a simple phobia; rather, it is a complicated one. In this phobic with schizophrenia, Taijin Kyofusho becomes a part of the individual’s schizophrenic reactions.
Taijin Kyofusho Meaning:
The term Taijin Kyofusho means the disorder of fear of interpersonal relations. The word “Taijin” means interpersonal relations, “Kyofu” means fear, and “sho” means disorder. Taijin Kyofusho was first described by Masatake Morita. Taijin Kyofushois is a social fear in which one is afraid of embarrassing others instead of one’s self.
Taijin Kyofusho Symptoms:
Taijin Kyofushois is the syndrome in which individuals are afraid of interpersonal relations. The Taijin Kyofushois characterized by the individual’s fear about his own body, which he feels is embarrassing to the others. The individuals who are suffering from Taijin Kyofusho are afraid of offending people with their body and appearance, which includes their facial features, appearances, actions, and their odour. In Japan, 10-20 % of people suffer from Taijin Kyofusho. Taijin Kyofusho is more common in men than in women. The symptoms of the Taijin Kyofusho are quite similar to that of social anxiety disorder or social phobia. The symptoms of Taijin Kyofusho are given below:
· avoiding social gatherings and activities
· rapid heartbeat
· shaking and trembling
· shortness of breath
· difficulty in speaking or stuttering
· inability to make an eye contact
· panic attack
· the feeling of dread around people
· gastrointestinal distress
· a strong desire to get away from this situation.
Taijin Kyofusho Causes:
The Taijin Kyofusho is considered to occur at any time. It is an obsession with embarrassment, shame, and anxiety. It is usually triggered by the history of shyness and social distancing in childhood. It can also get initiated by the humiliating traumatic experience. The Taijin Kyofusho is found to be more common in males than in females. Although females are more predisposed to social phobia or social anxiety disorder because they have a high inclination and disposition towards the feeling of embarrassment. 10-20% of the Japanese are suffering from the Taijin Kyofusho. 3-13% lifetime prevalence occurs with Taijin Kyofusho.
Taijin Kyofusho Treatment:
The western clinicians treat Taijin Kyofusholike any other social phobia. For them, Taijin Kyofusho is not a separate disorder. But in Japan, the Taijin Kyofusho is treated through Morita therapy. Morita therapy was developed by Dr Shoma Morita in the 1910s. Morita therapy is a progressive treatment that allows and helps the patient to learn to accept and redirect his thoughts. The primary feature of the therapy is to make patients focus on their body parts and sensations. Morita therapy consists of four stages.
The first stage of Morita therapy is the complete isolation of the patient, which involves the forced bed rest. During the second and third stages of Morita therapy, the main focus is on the work. The patient is asked to write a diary or perform manual labour. The fourth stage of Morita therapy involves therapeutic techniques like talk therapy and lectures on self-acceptance and positive thinking. The modifiedMorita therapy, which involves the outpatients and group settings, is known as Neo-Morita therapy. Sometimes the medications are also used with the therapy. The Taijin Kyofusho is found to respond well to the serotonin reuptake inhibitors like milnacipran.