Trapped Chilean Miners Showing Signs of Cabin Fever

Reports say miners are refusing food and acting recklessly.

ByABC News
September 8, 2010, 1:42 PM

Sept. 8, 2010 — -- The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for more than a month are no longer celebrating their miraculous survival, and are reportedly growing irritable and rebellious thousands of feet below ground.

The miners were upset when they were denied wine and cigarettes by authorities concerned about health implications. They were also angered when a request for empanadas was also denied, according to Chilean news outlets.

And has reported that the miners, evidently going stir crazy, have taken to riding machinery vehicles "recklessly" through the mine tunnels.

Refused the provisions they crave, the miners rejected a shipment of peaches that were sent down to them through a narrow tunnel that is their link with the world above, according the report.

Some of the miners have also grown frustrated that they haven't received letters from their relatives, one miner telling local Chilean news station TVN that he felt "abandoned" by his wife.

The grousing is a long way from the euphoria the miners expressed when they were discovered alive more than a month ago.

The newer and grumpier reactions, medical professionals say, are to be expected for a group of people who have been so secluded and limited in their daily actions for such a long period of time.

"When you're stuck in a confined area with heat and humidity and little light, our frustration tolerance starts to decrease," said Dr. Simon Rego, a psychologist at New York's American Institute for Cognitive Therapy.

"Impatience and frustration will rise and it will result in individuals becoming a little more oppositional and short-tempered," said Rego.