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How to tell if you have cabin fever

The Inland Northwest’s relentless snowstorms may be adding to normal winter blahs. The symptoms of cabin fever can include irritability, sadness, depression and anxiety. And some people who feel trapped lack the energy to plot ways to escape that trap.

Paul Rosenblatt, a family and and social science professor at the University of Minnesota, has studied and written about the phenomenon, which is pretty common in snow-rich Minnesota.

He said in an interview today that the feelings of irritability and anxiety are normal when people feel trapped inside for days at a time. “For some people, having a name for it really helps.”

Some of the ways to escape the negative emotions? Tackle a household chore, such as cleaning closets. Catch up on correspondence. Plan a future gathering with friends — or a trip to somewhere warmer. Or just wallow in it a bit. Sleep if tired, for instance.

If you have some anecdotes about symptoms and solutions for cabin fever, Inland Northwest style, please e-mail Rebecca Nappi at or comment below.

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