Cabin fever

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Cabin fever is an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1918,[1] for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.[2]

A person may experience cabin fever in a situation such as being in a simple country vacation cottage. When experiencing cabin fever, a person may tend to sleep, have distrust of anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow, dark or hail. The phrase is also used humorously to indicate simple boredom from being home alone.[3]


One therapy for cabin fever may be as simple as getting out and interacting with nature. Research has proven that even brief interactions with nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

MythBusters TV Show tested the existence of cabin fever in the episode 101 and deemed it plausible.

The character Jack Torrance suffers from cabin fever in the novel The Shining, and the feature film adaptation of the same name. The film Muppet Treasure Island includes a song called "Cabin Fever". There is also a film series named Cabin Fever about a flesh-eating bacterium and relates to this phenomenon in name only.

An episode of Lost is called Cabin Fever in Season 4.

Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa released the free digital download mix tape, "Cabin Fever" in February 2011. A sequel, "Cabin Fever 2" was released in October 2012. Both were released through Taylor Gang/Rostrum Records.


  1. ^ "The Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  2. ^ "Cabin fever". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-04-07. 
  3. ^ Ron Alexander (2004-02-03). "Reports From the Bunkers, by Some Survivors; Homebound and Happy". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Berman, Marc G.; John Jonides, Stephen Kaplan (2008-02-18). "The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature". Psychological Science 19 (12): 1207–1212.