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Historians speculate that the term cabin fever was first used to describe early U.S. settlers who experienced long winters alone in their log cabins, snowed in until the spring thaw. The term is dated to the 19th century by the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms and is first recorded in 1918, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Suffering from this condition is similar to going stir crazy, a term that originates from a mid-19th century slang term, stir, which meant "prison." Stir crazy was typically used to describe the behavior exhibited by inmates in prison suffering from the effects of a long incarceration.
The origins of the term may also date from the time of frequent oceanic crossings, when people endured the long passage across the Atlantic in small, cramped quarters below the deck of a ship. In addition, during outbreaks of disease, people were often confined or quarantined to their homes in the effort to prevent its spread. Restlessness and depression could have surely been a result in either of these situations. ...
1. any epidemic febrile illness affecting troops in an encampment;
2. obsolete term for typhus.
3. Synonym(s): typhus ...
The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association characterize the symptoms of cabin fever as:
- A lack of patience
- Always feeling tired
- Feeling unproductive and unmotivated
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Difficulty concentrating
- Craving carbohydrates or sugar
- Difficulty waking in the morning
- Sleep disturbance
- Social withdrawal
Other symptoms of cabin fever are hopelessness, losing interest in the activities one used to enjoy earlier, weight gain/weight loss, difficulty concentrating and/or processing information and change in the sex drive. ...
"Cabin fever is something that isn't part of a diagnosable condition," said Sheri Alexander, a licensed clinical social worker in Juneau.
The medical condition most closely related to cabin fever is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Alexander said. It is generally a condition that relates to mood and occurs at a certain time of the year. For most SAD patients, that time of the year is winter and they notice a repeat of their symptoms year after year. There have been rare cases of reverse SAD occurring in the summer for some patients with symptoms of heightened anxiety.
(note that they say cabin fever comes from being in a cabin covered in snow during an avalanche, which wasn't mentioned in the word history at all)
Cabin Fever is a colloquial term used to describe the reaction when trapped somewhere for an extended period of time. It can be used to describe being metaphorically trapped (like in a toxic relationship) or actually trapped (like being in a cabin covered in snow during an avalanche, which is where the name comes from). The most similar clinical concept would be claustrophobia, which is an anxiety condition marked by a feeling of no escape and fear of small spaces. Symptoms of cabin fever can include restlessness, frustration, sleep disturbances, irritability, distrust of others and urge to escape....
An early expedition in 1898–99, the first ship to winter in the Antarctic, recorded widespread psychological disturbance among the crew. ‘Mentally, the outlook was that of a madhouse’ wrote the ship’s doctor.
Ernest Shackelton’s doomed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is one of the most famous. He and his crew were trapped on their ship (understatedly named Endurance) for 10 months on drifting pack ice, and then spent months finding their way free of the Antarctic wilderness. Members of the crew were said to be suffering mentally at the time of their rescue, though in the scheme of things (frostbite, gangrene, amputation), cabin fever was probably the least of their problems.
Close confinement often led to quarrelling and ‘cabin fever’. In one account of the Lord Auckland’s 1842 voyage, a ‘regular row’ involving sailors and emigrants, ‘all fighting together, and shouting, cursing, swearing and screaming in a general mass’, erupted when the sweetheart of a hysterical woman attacked the surgeon. 6 In another report, the ‘great national dislike between Scandinavians and Germans’ on board the Friedeberg (1873) led to endless ‘petty squabbles’. ...
Prairie madness or prairie fever was an affliction that affected European settlers in the Great Plains during the migration to, and settlement of, the Canadian Prairiesand the Western United States in the nineteenth century. Settlers moving from urbanized or relatively settled areas in the East faced the risk of mental breakdown caused by the harsh living conditions and the extreme levels of isolation on the prairie. Symptoms of prairie madness included depression, withdrawal, changes in character and habit, and violence. Prairie madness sometimes resulted in the afflicted person moving back East or, in extreme cases, suicide.
Prairie madness was caused by the isolation and tough living conditions on the Prairie. The level of isolation depended on the topography and geography of the region. Most examples of prairie madness come from the Great Plains region. One explanation for these high levels of isolation was the Homestead Act of 1862. This act stipulated that a person would be given a tract of 160 acres if they were able to live on it and make something out of it in a five-year period. The farms of the Homestead Act were at least half a mile apart, but usually much more. There was little settlement and community on the Plains and settlers had to be almost completely self-sufficient.
The lack of quick and easily available transportation was also a cause of prairie madness; settlers were far apart from one another and they could not see their neighbors or get to town easily. Those who had family back on the East coast could not visit their families without embarking on a long journey. Settlers were very alone. This isolation also caused problems with medical care; it took such a long time to get to the farms that when children fell sick they frequently died. This caused a lot of trauma for the parents, and contributed to prairie madness.
Another major cause of prairie madness was the harsh weather and environment of the Plains, including long, cold winters filled with blizzards followed by short, hot summers. Once winter came, it seemed that all signs of life such as plants, and animals had disappeared. Farmers would be stuck in their houses under several feet of snow when the blizzards struck, and the family would be cramped inside for days at a time. There were few trees, and the flat land stretched out for miles and miles. Some settlers specifically spoke of the wind that rushed through the prairie, which was loud, forceful, and alien compared to what settlers had experienced in their former lives. ...
It is hard to establish any social bond in such a mixed population, yet one and all need social intercourse, as the thing most essential to pleasant living, after food, fuel, shelter, and clothing. An alarming amount of insanity occurs in the new prairie States among farmers and their wives. ...
(online PDF 5 pages)
Charles Darwin, for example, observed inmates “dead to everything but torturing anxieties and horrible despair. . . . The first man . . . answered . . . with a strange kind of pause . . . [he] fell into a strange stare as if he had forgotten something. . .[Of another] Why does he stare at his hands and pick the flesh open, . . . and raise his eyes for an instant . . . to those bare walls?
In the United States, unfortunately, these experiences did not give rise to a body of clinical literature. However, in Germany, whose penal system had emulated the American model, major clinical concern developed about the incidence of psychotic disturbances among prisoners. Between 1854 and 1909, 37 articles on this subject appeared in German journals, collectively describing hundreds of cases of psychoses that were deemed to be reactive to the conditions of imprisonment. A review of this literature appeared in 1912 (13) and will be only summarized here.
The literature described a hallucinatory, paranoid, confusional psychosis in which characteristic symptoms included 1) extremely vivid hallucinations in multiple sensory modalities, including the visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory; 2) dissociative features, including sudden recovery “as from a dream,” with subsequent amnesia for the events of the psychosis; 3) agitation and “motor excitement” with aimless violence; and 4) delusions, usually described as persecutory. Onset was often described as sudden and, in some reports, as precipitating at night. In other cases, initial manifestations included “humming and buzzing, unpleasant noises and inarticulate sounds [leading to] hallucinations.” Rarer, only occasionally noted symptoms included Vorbereiden (“the symptom of approximate answers,” usually associated with Ganser , although described as well by others) and hysterical conversion symptoms ...
Which would fit with the typhus fever/camp fever definition up top, yet they still call it Cabin fever.
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 17 -- People who spend a lot of time in remote cabins in the United States and Canada often report they suffer from 'cabin fever,' and now scientists said Tuesday that at least one form of fever is not psychological -- it's caused by a tick-borne bacteria. The fever, caused by infection from the bacterium Borrelia hermsii, is transmitted through the bite of a tick that feeds on sleeping persons in rural cabins, lakeside vacation homes and even permanent residences ...
originally posted by: testingtesting
Sounds like bliss to me, all we are getting is rubbish wet snow mayby an inch and its gone in an hour.
Been years since we got snowed in.
originally posted by: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
a reply to: blend57
One thing you didn't mention is all the alcohol abuse that it entails in the northern countries around the world. In modern times, you can tack on other illicit substances too.
You can go outdoors if you wanted to! I see all these people complaining at the Olympics that it is too cold for the Olympics.. pssttt! I learned how to snowboard at -10 °F, if I can do that, you can go outside. Dress in layers, enjoy the calmness and quiet. At least that is what we tell people new to Alaska... find an outdoor activity. Hmmm, maybe that is why I am always being asked by friends to go to the movies! An indoor social activity we can all share!
SAD may have something to do with it. The long winter nights tend to bum people out. Maybe that is why I like the winter solstice so much!
Up north, we have concerts, dances, dog races, beer festivals, etc., to stave off the dreaded cabin fever. Nothing better than gathering in a concert hall to hear some New Orleans jazz and celebrate Mardi Gras in the middle of winter!
Happy Fat Tuesday from the Last Frontier!
originally posted by: kurthall
a reply to: blend57
I used to live in the outskirts of town (Rockford,ILL) we were in a subdivision about 4 miles out of town. It would take sometimes up to a week to get us dug out. Since town was more important we had to wait for our roads to be cleared, until the city was up and running again first.
I loved it, it was fun being snowed in, there was excitement the day before a bad storm was coming. Getting all of our food, and supplies knowing that we would have to hunker down for a few days....The Blizzard Of 1978 was one I wont forget. We had like 4 feet of snow and it lasted about 2 days. We had to keep our doors cleared, so that we could open them and not have the snow block us and trap us in.
Now had we lost electricity that would have been awful. Luckily all of our power lines were underground, so we did not lose power.
Although a friend keeps telling me it's not about the cold, it's about your gear.