Cabin syndrome or fear of leaving home

Many people are experiencing fear and anguish in the face of lack of refinement : fear at the idea of ​​having to leave home again, anguish at resuming our obligations beyond the home, feeling that at home we have everything we need,… So much It is thus, that there are those who will prefer not to go out to the street.

This psychological phenomenon is not new, it is what in Psychology we know as cabin syndrome , something that is affecting a large number of people.

Cabin syndrome is manifesting itself more often than we think right now. It is important, therefore, that we understand and respect those who, for the moment, do not look forward to going out on the street.

WHAT IS CABIN SYNDROME? IT IS NORMAL?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about cabin syndrome, but it’s nothing new . Cabin syndrome is an American term that was coined at the beginning of the last century. This term refers to people who live in areas with very low temperatures who must hibernate in rural shelters during the winter or are isolated for months.

Today the term “cabin syndrome” refers to a set of symptoms studied in people who have spent long periods locked up , mainly in hospitals or prisons, and who, when leaving, feel fear because their comfort zone changes ( the cabin) and this generates insecurity, anxious symptoms and even panic attacks, hypochondria or agoraphobia.

IS IT NORMAL TO BE AFRAID OF GOING OUT ON THE STREET?

Fear is a primary emotion whose main function is survival and protects us from what can harm us (or that we believe can do it to us, if we are talking about an irrational fear).

During confinement we have become accustomed to being at home without going out on the street for anything other than what is essential and in many cases without talking to anyone or very little. It is normal to be afraid to go out after confinement since the coronavirus can harm us and the big problem is that it is an invisible threat. Protecting ourselves so as not to get infected is essential, therefore, a certain level of fear is, as we said, healthy and recommended.

The problem can come if we suffer from a high degree of anxiety for fear of developing the disease or when this fear is very intense and long-lasting and is accompanied by other symptoms and behaviors, such as, for example, the avoidance of going out into the street even if we are already moving forward. in the de-escalation phases. This is when we would talk about a disorder and the most advisable thing is to go to a Psychologist as soon as possible to put a stop to it and not to go further.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CABIN SYNDROME?

Not all people with cabin syndrome have the same symptoms or all of them, but many report feeling restless or irritable. Other common effects are:

  • The most obvious characteristic is the fear of going outside. However, often, people can simply state that they don’t feel like going out yet, that they are fine at home for now, and that they have everything they need.
  • Feeling tired, taking long naps, and even having difficulty getting up in the morning is usually common.
  • Cognitive symptoms such as memory failures and difficulty concentrating.
  • Emotional symptoms such as anguish, sadness, fear, frustration.
  • Craving for certain foods to relieve anxiety.
  • Lack of motivation to carry out activities or tasks that we previously did. Especially if they are abroad.
  • Sleep disturbances or problems.

I AM AFRAID OF LEAVING THE HOME AFTER THE DECONFINATION. WHAT CAN I DO?

It is logical and normal to feel fear and uncertainty at first. We are facing a new situation and the virus is still present. Like everything in life, each person has his own rhythm and each one must follow his own.

Here are some tips to overcome the fear of leaving the house after decoining :

  • Accept fear . Fear is normal and we have to learn to feel it without burdening ourselves with guilt. As much as we try to ignore it or think we don’t have it, it will still be there to try to protect us.
  • Progressively return to “normality . ” As we have said before, each of us has our own rhythm and it must be respected. We have to listen to our body and take the steps when we are ready to do so. Remember that if you have been able to change your routine and stay home all this time, you can also do it the other way around.
  • Decide how, when and where . Don’t pressure yourself or let others do it. Start with the situations in which you feel most comfortable, you are the one who knows yourself best. If you want to start taking small walks in the allowed hours, do it whenever you prefer in the morning or at night, alone or accompanied, …
  • Relax and breathe . Although it is unconsciously, during these days many people have been accumulating stress or anxiety in the face of this situation that is new for everyone. Thinking about going outside can increase it, so relaxing and doing breathing exercises can be two of your great allies.
  • If you go out, enjoy the sensations . There is no use going out to suffer and have a bad time. When you go out into the street, instead of being aware of your body’s reactions, take the opportunity to enjoy everything that surrounds you: the sun, the air in your face, the sound of the birds, …

WHEN TO SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?

Psychological disorders do not appear overnight, they usually begin due to not knowing how to correctly manage certain symptoms, emotions and behaviors.

It is important that you put yourself in the hands of a Psychologist at the moment when you feel that the situation of having to go out overflows more and more and you cannot control it , even limiting your going out to the street.

On the other hand, it is not always necessary to go to a Psychologist when we can no longer do it and the situation overwhelms us so much that it limits our lives. You can go to a Psychologist to prevent, learn to manage our emotions and thoughts or work on certain personal aspects that may have been influenced or impaired during confinement.

If you are looking for Psychologists  , do not hesitate to contact us. We remind you that you can also request your appointment online .

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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