The Shack Syndrome: The Post-Covid Effect

November 2, 2021

As we all know, the SARS-CoV2 (or covid19) coronavirus pandemic has kept us at home since it broke out, and while many await a return to normalcy, there is the possibility that a huge part of society will generate some problems of mental health, one of these problems is the Cabin Syndrome

What is Cabin Syndrome?

Cabin syndrome, also cabin fever, refers to the agonizing irritability or claustrophobic restlessness that is experienced when a person or a group is trapped in an isolated place or in a closed place, for an extended period of time, feeling like in a “prison”.

The cabin syndrome  is one of the direct consequences that is causing the confinement  of a large part of the world population due to the coronavirus. Although many governments are allowing people to go back to the streets or to work, there are some who are experiencing strong anxiety.

Precisely, this concern about going out again is what is known as the cabin syndrome. In other words, it is the fear that is produced by changing surroundings, even if the latter was not the best.

Also, there is the question that the virus has not been completely defeated. Therefore,  many adults fear catching and developing the symptoms of COVID-19.  Although many do not like to stay in their homes, they prefer it to being exposed to open places full of people.

The first cases of the syndrome of the cabin or  cabin fever , as it is said in English, began to be documented at the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, in the United States, researchers found that people who spent months in isolation in cabins in unpopulated areas or lighthouses tended to have these characteristic symptoms and traits.

Due to this fact, this set of signs and symptoms received that characteristic name. The reasons why this condition occurs is because  the brain gets used to a specific environment, which is the only one that the individual is able to interact with.

Therefore, this environment becomes the fundamental and integral part for that person, missing or misaligned with the outside world. We all know that the unknown or what we are not interested in knowing, can be quite disturbing.

Syndrome Reality

The famous cabin syndrome does not exist.  Unlike others – such as Asperger’s, Tourette’s or post-traumatic stress disorder – it is not typified as such, nor is it recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA). However, these days the expression has begun to gain prominence in the news, in WhatsApp messages and in everyday conversations.  We use it to talk about the fear of leaving home in times of coronavirus, a fear that is very real and that is linked to the risk of contagion. According to a   recent study by the European University, 7 out of 10 people fear contracting the disease.

Why is cabin syndrome not considered as such? Because “its origin is not clear and there are not enough studies to support it,” says psychologist María Martín de Pozuelo, coordinator of the Center for Strategic Therapy in Spain. In his opinion, it is more of an expression to refer to the fear of leaving home; a fear to which each person can react in very different ways. In the same way that prolonged confinement has affected us in different ways (it has generated, for example, restlessness, sadness, impatience, nervousness,  insomnia problems  or a feeling of loneliness),  the return to normal life also affects us in a way different. And this happens even when the basic emotion is the same. 

To do?

Scientists of human behavior, that is, psychologists, know  what to do in these to solve the situation:  gradually expose themselves to fears.  It is the best option to  solve the problem over time .

Functionally, this syndrome is very similar to other conditions that are widely studied by psychologists and psychiatrists. They are known and there is a high success rate in their treatment.

However, for those who feel compelled to begin to overcome it on their own, we will share a couple of helpful tips below.

  • Successive exposure to the new normal : the feelings that are produced are normal, they do not correspond to any psychological disorder. For this reason, it is not convenient to see the fact of leaving the house as an all or nothing. You have to approach, little by little, the door. Go out a few meters, take small walks and gradually increase the distances.
  • Schedule routine : in this regard, it is good to establish a routine of activities and  hours of sleep . It is not advisable to sleep more than necessary. It is also not advisable to spend a lot of time sitting or reclining. A good diet, hand in hand with physical activity, can contribute to general well-being.
Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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