Cabin Syndrome: How To Overcome The Fear Of Going Outside Again

Despite the fact that, although with restrictions, we can already go to the streets, some people do not want to do so. They are afraid, sometimes panicked, of leaving their home. They suffer what is called “the cabin syndrome.”


Until a few months ago, the cabin syndrome had only been described in people who spent long periods of time isolated and with little social contact, such as astronauts, prisoners or workers confined in winter in places of extreme weather. However, these days it is a very common reason for consultation in the offices of psychologists.

The cabin syndrome is not typified as a psychological problem, and it is not a pathology. We can describe it as an exaggerated fear of going outside after spending several months locked up at home. In addition, people who suffer  from it may experience depressive symptoms, apathy in the face of the monotony of confinement, and they may also present an anxiety picture at the idea of ​​going out again.

The enormous adaptability of the human being predisposes us to get used to any type of situation, even the most adverse, such as being locked up at home for more than two months. Our mind has become used to the situation of isolation, routines, and no direct social contact with people outside our home.


These were some of the guidelines that we worked to be able to do her personal de-escalation:

  • Recognize our fear. Recognizing and accepting our fears helps us understand them. Fear is a very important emotion for our survival. By acknowledging it, we are already aware of its existence and can work to assimilate it and not be permanently caught in its influence.
  • Maintain security measures. Maintaining recommended precautions also helps control the fear of possible infection. Following safety instructions such as social distance, hand washing, or a mask helps to contain the feeling of fear and increase the feeling of security.
  • Know the real situation. Without falling into the obsession of being informed every hour about the new numbers of infections or deaths, it is necessary to know the situation of the community in which everyone lives to have a realistic estimate of the danger. Many times unfounded fear increases pessimism and does not allow us to value everything we can do.
  • Exit gradually. It is not necessary to set big goals, but to go out gradually, at your own pace, without forcing, to gain confidence and see what can be done.

The aim of these little walks is to reconnect with the positive sensations of being outside (clean air, smells of spring, sunlight, spaciousness, etc.).