Cabin fever encloses victims


Courtesy of McClatchy Tribune

With winter weather and a two week long break people often can feel trapped and bored, here are some ways to kick the winter blues.

Will Anderson, Staff Reporter

With one ice storm already hitting this area, there’s plenty of time for another one to put the Lucas-Fairview community in a deep freeze.  If that happens, keep an eye out for cabin fever.  A condition developed by being held in a confined space for a long period of time. People can be affected by cabin fever if they are stuck for weeks in the snow or if their emotions can’t handle the feeling of isolation.

“When I think of cabin fever, I think of being antsy, agitated, wanting to move and go somewhere but you can’t,” associate professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage Suzanne Womack Strisik said in a Capital City Weekly article.

The symptoms of cabin fever include excessive sleeping, moodiness, restlessness, irritability, irrationality, frustration, crankiness, forgetfulness, sudden bursts of laughter or tears, and distrust of other individuals. People suffering from cabin fever may have the feeling they need to burst out of their confines, such as wanting out of the house on a snow day.

Severe cases of cabin fever are called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD cases are usually treated with light therapy, since this type of disorder is akin to human hibernation. Cabin fever is a type claustrophobic condition, meaning the person feels the need to escape their enclosed space.

The Mythbusters, proved cabin fever to be a real condition. They confined lead hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to separate cabins in the middle of barren Alaska for 48 hours. The testers had to take stress tests to check on their sanity. In the middle of the test Jamie decided to rewrite the Constitution and Adam started to make pistons and bicycles out of extra coat hangers. Both showed signs of cabin fever.

Though cabin fever seems like a serious issue, it’s actually rare to find. Most people just go on about their business at home or go outside like they wanted. Sometimes people that are iced in simply need social interaction.

In the recent ice storm, some students were without power for more than 51 hours. With many students’ lives revolving around electronics, it was difficult for them to stay occupied. Some had family time and played a board game or roasted marshmallows in the fireplace. Cabin fever can instigate being grumpy or irritable, but with the rarity of cabin fever, a snippish sibling may have just woken up on the wrong side of the ice cold bed.

To help with cabin fever, open up windows or get some natural light so that a small confined room can feel a little less uncomfortable.