Daydreaming is a common and widespread human phenomenon. Sometimes, however, daydreaming can evolve into extreme and maladaptive behavior. Coined by Israeli professor of Clinical Psychology, Eli (Eliezer Somer), the term maladaptive daydreaming refers to a psychiatric condition which involves engaging in uncontrolled and extensive periods of highly immersive and vividly fantastical daydreaming.
According to the British Psychological Society(1), people with maladaptive daydreaming were found to spend an average of about four hours per day lost in their own thoughts.
So, how to stop daydreaming? Let’s find out more about the symptoms and causes of maladaptive daydreaming and ways to effectively cope with it.
Common Symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming
The following are some common symptoms that characterize individuals who are maladaptive daydreamers:
- They spend hours absorbed in their own imaginative experiences and fantastical thoughts;
- They are more likely to be socially withdrawn and neglect relationships with family and friends;
- They may have trouble focusing and coping with daily life;
- They tend to neglect their health and may experience sleep disturbances;
- They generally lead an unproductive lifestyle.
The maladaptive daydreaming disorder is currently treated as a neural biochemical imbalance. The causes of this disorder, however, have been increasingly linked to loneliness, trauma, and abuse, especially during childhood. Individuals use it as a coping mechanism to escape from the so-called ‘unpleasant reality’.
They may also resort to excessive daydreaming as a means to vent out anger, rage, or pain, reimagine painful real-life interactions, or gain temporary relief from anxiety and stress.
Did You Know!
|People who suffer from maladaptive daydreaming may spend about 60 percent of their waking life in their own reveries.|
What Can You Do to Control Maladaptive Daydreaming?
If you find yourself in a mental state of wandering constantly, here are a few things you can do to take control:
1. Recognize the Symptoms
Acknowledging your symptoms is the first step towards helping yourself deal with the maladaptive daydreaming disorder. It can also benefit you if you can try and identify the underlying cause for your excessive daydreaming, which may help you overcome the problem. For example, you may be feeling unfulfilled, and you probably resort to compulsive daydreaming as a means of comfort.
By recognizing this, you can rediscover ways to find fulfillment, such as finding a job you love or pursuing a degree that can provide you with more opportunities. If you are unable to recognize the specific cause for your disorder, it is still crucial that you remain aware of your symptoms and reach out for support.
2. Identify and Avoid Triggers
Try to recognize triggers that drive your mind to wander. Music, boredom, and sadness are some common triggers that are known to spur episodes of daydreaming. If you can recognize what prompts your daydreaming, it will be easier for you to break out of the cycle.
3. Keep Your Mind Active and Engaged
You will probably come across this advice a lot, but this is one of the surest ways to treat maladaptive daydreaming. Try to keep your mind preoccupied during the day. Reading or solving crosswords and puzzles is one way to engage your brain actively. You could also find a hobby or join a club, take up dancing, play a sport, or simply exercise your body. This will help you override the internal commotion in your head.
4. Get Enough Sleep
A new study(2) predicts that sleep disturbances tend to increase the frequency of mind-wandering episodes. A possible explanation for this, according to Professor Eli Somer, is that poor sleep reduces executive cognitive control and lowers functional connectivity, thereby reducing a person’s ability to prevent his or her mind from wandering.
It is important, therefore, that you get good quality sleep on a regular schedule. Minimize caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other such substances that can interfere with your sleep.
5. Keep a Journal
Another useful exercise is to record your thoughts in a journal. If you can record how frequently you daydream, what exactly you were thinking about, and discern people, places, and things that trigger these episodes daily, it can help you uncover possible trends that drive your behavior. You can use the journal to take steps to alter your behavior.
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6. Consult a Therapist or Find a Support Group
If you think that these simple positive changes aren’t helping you enough, consult a therapist who can help you develop more effective coping skills. Sometimes, just the small act of verbalizing your feelings to someone can help you cope with your emotions better and motivate you to make changes in your behavior.
Online support groups are also a great tool. It can help you connect with people who share similar feelings and experiences.
Daydreaming isn’t always bad! There are various benefits to daydreaming, too. Some people think that the ability to imagine makes you more creative, improves your working memory, and can even lower your stress levels. But, it is essential not to make it a habit.
If you are troubled by obsessive daydreaming, try to replace unproductive thoughts with a more realistic visualization of things, like what goals you would like to achieve or how you can solve a particular problem. Channel your imagination into improving your own life.
1. Is Daydreaming a Symptom of ADHD?
Daydreaming doesn’t necessarily mean you have ADHD. However, daydreaming tends to be more intensified in children with ADHD as their ability to self-regulate the brain is impaired.
2. What Are the Early Signs of ADHD?
Some common signs exhibited by children with ADHD include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Daydreaming is another classic symptom. Children with ADHD may be hyper-focused while they are daydreaming so much so that it can be challenging to get their attention back, affecting their day-to-day functioning.
3. Is Maladaptive Daydreaming a Symptom of Anxiety?
Maladaptive daydreaming is often seen in individuals with anxiety disorders. It helps them manage their fear and anxiety. It is also associated with various other symptoms such as trauma, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit disorder.
If you’ve come to this page then I know how you feel, you’re fed up of maladaptive daydreaming. Yes you love it too, I know. Your characters, your world, the feelings and emotions you feel when your daydreaming make you feel brilliant and happy and safe. Then reality seeps in and you realise you’ve wasted your whole day on something that is not real, you haven’t done the household chores, work or whatever it is that you needed to do as you’ve been too wrapped up in your own head. And you know that as great as that can be, it has to end as life can’t go on like this.
How the hell do we break the Maladaptive Daydreaming addiction? – Anna
How do we cure MD?
I’ve read online that some people think maladaptive daydreaming can’t be cured or treated but there are quite a lot of EX maladaptive daydreamers out there who have said they have broken free from this. Yup they did it, they no longer constantly fantasize. So if they can do it, then we can do it. Yes we can.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Treatments
1. The majority of Ex maladaptive daydreamers that now say they’ve rid themselves of this addiction have really worked on themselves. They’ve all said it was a really hard journey and hard work. They saw a therapist and worked through their issues. OK, if Maladaptive daydreaming is a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety/depression/trauma/stress then you can see how talking through all your issues with somebody who is trained to listen and not judge you will be supremely beneficial.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, therapy is expensive and really is a random therapist going to understand anything about maladaptive daydreaming? Once you tell somebody are the little white men in white coats going to drive you away somewhere and plonk you in the nearest asylum?
Well, if you’re from the UK there is a service called Back on Track, which offers a free counselling service. You do not need a referral from your doctor, you just fill in the contact form or phone the number and someone will call you back. I have contacted them and have been told there’s a month’s waiting list to actually meet a therapist but as soon as I do, I will document what happens here. Because ultimately I really believe that this will work. Can you look online and find a free counseling service near you? Could you go to your doctor and explain you need help and get a referral? If money isn’t an issue for you, could you look into therapists near you? I think it would be definitely worth a try.
2. Change the Endings of your Daydreams
I have a love fantasy daydream. Obviously we always get together and live happily ever after. One Maladaptive Daydreamer has suggested changing the ending so you just remain friends. She said she does this now and it makes daydreaming a whole lot less enjoyable and her daydreams are over very quickly as a lot of the enjoyment has been taken away.
Could you do the same? I mean whatever the theme of your daydream can you change the ending to something less pleasurable? I tried this and changed the ending in my daydream even more dramatically so that we never got together in the first place and yes it completely killed the enjoyment of the whole thing.
However, personally I feel anxious when not daydreaming as I know I have to work through a lot of issues and until I have someone who can help me work through these issues, I’m going to have to keep hold of the daydreaming. But I can see though if you changed the ending and stuck with it, you would pretty much kill off the maladaptive daydreaming.
When Eli Somer lead a study into Maladaptive daydreaming, he mentioned in his report that one maladaptive daydreamer that he came across was treated for over 10 years with a drug called fluvoxamine, that reportedly helped to control her daydreaming. I’ll quote him, as he seems to know what he’s talking about:
“The fact that this patient responded to a medication that influences serotonergic tone, implies neurochemical irregularity and suggests a potential association between MD and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders”.
So what is Fluvoxamine?
Fluvoxamine, sold under the brand name Luvox among others, is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class which is used primarily for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and is also used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
M edication, is a consideration I think if things get really bad. When I went to see my doctor to tell him about my anxiety and compulsive daydreaming he prescribed Sertraline which, is also an antidepressant also known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). I did refuse to take this as I want to talk to a therapist first. But at least the option is there if needed.
Ultimately although I’m not a medical professional, I think the only way to treat and beat the MD is to work through all the issues that started this in the first place. And you’ll need help to do this. I can’t see how one person can combat this alone. So please talk to your doctor or find a therapist, if you’re brave enough to tell somebody about your MD then hats off to you. Having somebody to confide in and talk to about this would be so helpful.
If you have beaten MD and would like to share your story please contact me so I can include it on the site. Likewise, if you’re trying to beat this addiction and want to ask or add something please leave a comment below or fill in the contact form.
First of all I apologize for the formatting. I really just want to get this out.
I don't even know how to start this post. But let's just say, childhood emotional neglect and a period of actual (maybe?) physical neglect is impacting me horribly, made some really good friends back in grade 4 & 5 but we lost contact ever since, made some good friends too in the last few years of elementary school, now I've moved to a new place and no longer have that connection with them (I moved a lot as a child and was almost never in a stable place) . Now I often daydream about spending time with them, or just having a good time by myself all the time, to the point I make facial expressions and gestures according to what I'm doing in the daydream and I am almost not aware of it, but a few of my family members have pointed out my weird gestures every so often. For the childhood part, for around half a year I had to be entrusted to one of my mother's friend when I was 4, I don't blame my mother on this in anyway, however, I realized that during that half a year, I was in survival mode at all times; trying to not make them angry and set off a bomb, often going outside the house to look for an escape route, staying up at night and just staring off into space, and the people I was entrusted too weren't necessary the best parents. well to be fair, I'm not even a part of their family. I think that survival mode was kept on even when I was taken in by my extended family who I still live with now, I was homeschooled for awhile with my extended family, and I'm quite ashamed to say this really, I started having suicidal thoughts since I was 7. My extended family is pretty damn great and I love them, but I think they're probably dysfunctional as those who have listened to my problems told me. Due to all this and my own personality, in no way am I confident, I feel like a burden whenever I unleash my problems to someone and feel horribly bad for them that they have to endure my endless crap, I feel guilty and ashamed even when it comes to things that I'm entitled to have, I constantly beat myself up, overthink everything, I have no personality and I mold into whatever type of person they are when I meet someone, I can end up wondering around the house for a long time, just daydreaming and not even realizing what I'm doing. Anything that reminds me of my grade 4 & 5 years make me sob, my constant daydreaming is making me lose attachment from reality, such as my tasks on hand or the environment around me, my memory is absolutely horrible and I would have no idea what you said to me like 2 minutes ago, I do not remember much of my childhood such as the trips I've been taken onto and my family often gets mad at me for this.
One last thing, few months ago I met someone online who is nice, supportive, make conversations that I can respond to, discuss any kind of problems, and I generally treat him like a older brother. He's the one I often unleash my problems to and I feel horrible that whenever he talks to me the subject turns negative because of my problems, he does have reddit but I doubt he visits this subreddit, but I still want to say thank you to him in this post.
I realized I might've missed out on some important things in this post, please feel free to ask any questions.
Since I like to write a lot, and I’ve written a few novels, I’ve given a lot of thought to what famous writers (and other creative types) have been maladaptive daydreamers.
I suspect that one of my favorite writers, JK Rowling, was one of us. She just decided to channel her depression and daydreams into her novels.
I just saw a long interview with JK Rowling on You Tube, and she talked about her struggles with depression and excessive daydreaming. She even got fired from her job as a secretary because she kept daydreaming.
Here’s a quote from her: “I was very frightened of my father for a very long time and also tried desperately to get his approval and make him happy. We were as skint as you can be without being homeless and at that point I was definitely clinically depressed.”
She tried to get help with depression, and ended up in counseling. She was daydreaming on a train when she came up with the idea of Harry Potter. She claims that putting her ideas down on paper and writing Harry Potter helped her a lot with her depression. She even personified depression in the characters of the “dementors.” There’s also that scene with the mirror of Erised where Dumbledore tells Harry, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” This is something that all MDs can identify with.
In this interview on You Tube, she admits that it was hard for her when the Harry Potter novels were finished, because they were an escape for her from her real life.
Can anyone come up with any other famous people that might have been maladaptive daydreamers?
Replies to This Discussion
Emilie Autumn. no confirmation if she is, but she straight-up wrote a book detailing her stay at a psych ward and the DD set in a Victorian England asylum that she was using to cope with it, referring to her alternate self “Emily with a ‘y'”. She’s how I found out that other people actually did this.
Tolkien all the way – just read his biography. Loads of telling little quirks there.
And I’d like to add writer/screen writer, William Nicholson, to the list or someone close to him at least. Was watching some of his films and reading his blog and some things just jumped out. The Q&A feature on his sites is down, so I can’t do any subtle asking about MD. 🙁
I’m a little late to the discussion here!
I watched “The Boss Baby” with my little sister a little bit ago, and I realized that there are probably several fictional daydreamers out there as well, and I think it would be fun to explore that! First, I want to say it’s very likely that the main character, Tim Templeton, could potentially have/develop MD. A large portion of the movie features scenes recreated in the mind of the young character, and by the end, [*SPOILER*], it’s implied that the entire movie was actually a figment of his imagination.
I’m having a hard time thinking of other characters, but Christopher Robin came to mind at one point. Assuming Winnie the Pooh and the others are part of his imagination as apparently implied, and assuming he isn’t mentally ill as theorized, I want to say he’s likely a daydreamer. I’m mostly skeptical because I heard he represents schizophrenia, as the other characters represent other mental illnesses.
Can anyone else think of some fictional daydreamers?
you’ve written novels?? im currently working on one right now!! its so consuming. its gradually become a massive fantasy that has a life of its own and im struggling to keep up with it. It’s as if its playing too fast for me to write it down. do you have any advice for me?
I’ve always suspected that world-builders like Borges was one of us. When I read Labyrinths (https://wizchan.org/hob/src/1449201237263-0.pdf) I started to feel like I wasn’t alone in this and then I discovered this website.
I love to read (when I can concentrate) and I’ve found a lot of books and stories that to me suggest the author was, at the very least, aware of the dangers of addictive daydreaming.
In his essay ‘Why I Write’ George Orwell describes himself as having textbook md;
I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life . (yadadada and then again). But side by side with all this, for fifteen years or more, I was carrying out a literary exercise of a quite different kind: this was the making up of a continuous ‘story’ about myself, a sort of diary existing only in the mind. I believe this is a common habit of children and adolescents. As a very small child I used to imagine that I was, say, Robin Hood, and picture myself as the hero of thrilling adventures, but quite soon my ‘story’ ceased to be narcissistic in a crude way and became more and more a mere description of what I was doing and the things I saw.
Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau is about teenage siblings who isolate themselves socially and engage in a daydreaming habit they call ‘going away’.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (best book of all time. ) is about addiction of all kinds but the plot mainly revolves around a film so entertaining that people who watch it lose all interest in life and, unable to tear themselves from the film even to eat or sleep, just die. To me it seemed like a really dramatic metaphor for addictive escapism.
Maladaptive daydreaming disorder (MDD), also known as excessive daydreaming, involves vivid and excessive fantasy activity with elaborate and complex scenarios. Sometimes the daydreamer borrows characters from favorite books, video games, television shows and movies and makes up their own plots. Others make up their own cast of fantasy characters. People with MDD know that their daydream worlds are not real and never confuse real life with their fantasy worlds. Those with MDD usually enjoy and even love their daydream worlds. However, the daydreaming can result in distress, as it can sometimes replace human interaction and may interfere with normal functioning such as social life or work. People with MDD have trouble limiting their daydreaming and often complain that they find it compulsive or addictive. Maladaptive Daydreamers can spend more than half their days in “vivid alternative universes.”
Maladaptive daydreaming is typically associated with stereotypical movements, such as pacing or rocking, and the need for musical stimulation. Researchers on the topic include Jayne Bigelsen, Dr. Cynthia Schupak, Dr. Daniella Jopp and Dr. Eli Somer who coined the term Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder. Somer’s definition of the condition is “extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.” It is important to note that not everyone who daydreams in this elaborate, vivid manner has MDD. Enhanced, vivid daydreaming only becomes a problem if the person experiencing it believes that it is interfering with his or her life, usually due to the inability to limit it and the time it takes away from pursuing real life activities.
Extensive Daydreaming (often complex characters and plots)
Trouble limiting daydreaming so that it interferes with school, work, sleep or personal life
Can be annoyed when daydreaming is interrupted
Can be accompanied by pacing or other movement
Music can be a trigger
Please keep in mind that one can daydream in this enhanced fashion and have it not be a problem. It is only a problem if it interferes with your life, (e.g. causes problems with your academic/vocational goals and with your personal/family relationships.)
Dr Somer discusses Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder
If you were to carry out slight research and went around asking people what is Maladaptive daydreaming you will be surprised. Not a good number of people know exactly what maladaptive daydreaming is, which is so strange and surprising at the same time. In fact, some people confuse maladaptive daydreaming with actual daydreaming which is not the case.
Maladaptive daydreaming is somehow different from daydreaming which is exactly what many people suffer from due to various reasons. Maladaptive daydreaming is very different from this, it is actually a very different case from daydreaming.
If you have some sort of daydreams which are so intense leading to even losing track of yourself then chances are you are suffering from maladaptive daydreaming. If you like putting on music then imagining yourself in some kind of situations or imaginative scenarios in your head then that could be indicative of maladaptive daydreaming.
It Is A Form Of Excessive Daydreaming
Maladaptive daydreaming comes about as a result of excessive daydreaming. This is a form of proposed diagnosis of some sort of disorder of dissociative absorption which is associated with some sort of excessive fantasy. This fantasy is not recognized by any major medical criteria.
When someone engages in maladaptive daydreaming for a long period of time then that might lead to some sort of distress. Other than that, maladaptive daydreaming might also lead to some sort of replacement of interaction and might in some cases interfere with the normal functioning of the social life of a person.
Is Maladaptive Daydreaming Similar To Daydreaming
Those people who know about maladaptive daydreaming have been confusing it with daydreaming. However, that is not the case contrary to what many people think it is. Daydreaming is basically about being positive. For instance, if you are working then you might start to picture yourself in prominent positions. You can even dream that you have been promoted at your place of work or commanding some power in other places. Even though some of these things might not necessarily be true they are very much possible and realistic. Daydreaming in many cases leads to high self-esteem with many people feeling so motivated.
On the other hand, maladaptive daydreaming is about fantasies and things that are completely unrealistic in this world. With maladaptive daydreaming , the people affected might dwell more on things like violence and sexual matters which might not be true. In many cases, people suffering from maladaptive daydreaming might lead to some sort of emotional distress.
The Signs Of Maladaptive Daydreaming
The only way you can tell if one is suffering from maladaptive daydreaming disorder is by looking at some of the signs associated with this condition. For the maladaptive daydreaming condition, some signs are more pronounced even though they might be confused with those of daydreaming.
For people who are skeptical about maladaptive daydreaming and whether they are suffering from this condition, there are some signs to look out for. This text offers you some signs that you need to look out for in case you are wondering if you suffer from it.
If You Spend So Much Time Trying To Daydream
This is one of the signs that are associated with maladaptive daydreaming. To be honest, there is some sort of gratification that comes out of maladaptive daydreaming. The case is even the same with daydreaming which is pretty similar to maladaptive daydreaming .
People affected by this condition tend to spend a lot of time daydreaming. As to what these people daydream about is still not known but people with this condition spend a lot of time trying to daydream. If you find yourself daydreaming and mostly engaging your thoughts in things that are unrealistic then you need to seek medical attention. If this is the case with you then there is a high chance you suffer from maladaptive daydreaming and you need help with this condition soon as you can.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Interferes With Your Daily Life
There are some factors about maladaptive daydreaming which you need to know. For instance, a maladaptive daydreaming test carried revealed that this situation and condition also leads to interferences with the daily lives of the people affected.
For instance, some people spend a lot of time daydreaming. In fact, some of them easily retreat back home and spend a lot of time daydreaming. To some extent, some of these people even fail to work and might also see an effect in their social lives.
In fact, this is one of the red flags associated with maladaptive daydreaming . When daydreaming becomes a compulsion then that means you are on your way. Getting to this stage, recovery is not always as easy as people think.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Treatment
Many people become slaves of maladaptive daydreaming without them even knowing. In fact, some of them never realize how much they have been affected until it is very late. Failing to focus on the task at hand and living in a world of fantasy are all signs of the effects of maladaptive daydreaming.
Finding treatment for this condition can help the affected people find some useful reprieve from this condition when they need to. There are a number of ways you can use to fight your way out of this condition. Here are some of the ways that you can use to deal with maladaptive daydreaming in case you are affected:
- Try to set up a predetermined block of time for daydreaming
- Try and establish what your maladaptive daydreaming triggers are and work on them
- Go for therapy especially if you are adversely affected
- Learn how to dream during the night to reduce your dreams
A good number of people are affected by maladaptive daydreaming which affects their daily lives in a much bigger way. Stress and distress are some of the challenges that come with this condition. The text above takes you through this condition and how you can work your way out of it.
After living with maladaptive daydreaming for over 7 months, I feel as if I understand it a lot better and see it for what it is. Maladaptive daydreaming is a coping mechanism, a form of escapism to help you feel safe, less stressed, less anxious. MD stops you from thinking about the issues that are making you feel low or anxious so in a way you could look at it as a gift. It’s keeping you safe. At the same time it’s masking the problems you’re facing, you’re not dealing with them, or trying to find out a way to solve or cure them, so as you know MD at the same time as being a blessing is also a curse.
the frequency of daydreaming is associated with several anxiety measures. Nirit Soffer-Dudek and Eli Somer
What would you rather the continuous daydreaming or the anxiety?
Whilst I thoroughly now do enjoy maladaptive daydreaming, I find it very hard to switch it off. I find it hard to stop daydreaming whilst working, which means I find doing things at work and being productive extremely difficult. Even writing these blog posts requires a lot of effort on my part. If MD was easier to control then it wouldn’t be that bad. It does though control the anxiety and anxiety, as you know is not very pleasant. Palpitations, shortness of breath, feeling teary, is all very stressful and scary. I also find anxiety can be debilitating, it stops you from doing the things you want or need to do because you’re so busy trying to stop feeling anxious or the anxiety totally consumes you leaving you with little time to focus on things that you need to do.
So what is the answer?
I do want to be able to stop the maladaptive daydreaming I really do. And I know to do this, i need to let myself feel the anxiety and work out the causes of why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. I think once the anxiety goes and I work out the causes for it, then I won’t need to maladaptive daydream anymore.
So how do you find out the causes of what is making you anxious?
1. Write down what you believe are your main problems.
2. Write down all the possible solutions, even silly ones.
3. Think about each solution in practical terms.
4. Choose the most practical solution.
5. Plan how you will carry that solution out.
Did this help?
Is maladaptive daydreaming a way for you to manage your anxiety, depression or trauma? do you know what’s causing your anxiety, have you learnt how to control your maladaptive daydreaming? I would love to know! Please leave a comment below or email: [email protected]
According to the diagnostic manual for the psychiatric classification of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Maladaptive Daydreaming is a common condition in adults. Maladaptive Daydreaming is a mental state in which an individual repeatedly daydreams while awake, and many times during the day. Some symptoms are unusual distress or pain resulting from overexposure to reality, recurring fantasies of grave misfortune, distorted perceptions of time and space, and abnormal feelings of anxiety and panic. Maladaptive Daydreaming is not a disease but is more accurately a symptom. It can be both a disorder and an addiction. One cannot survive long with this malady.
Maladaptive Daydreaming is the most difficult to treat sleep-related issues in adults. In fact, only a fraction of those who suffer from sleep disorders is actually diagnosed with a sleeping disorder. However, as Somers and schizos are both parts of the same general category of sleep disorders, they are often lumped together under the term of maladaptive daydreaming disorders.
Maladaptive Daydreaming as Disorder
According to the APA, “Maladaptive Daydreaming…is a disorder that causes intense distress and altered states of awareness.” Of the 100 participants, 83 met the criterion for dissociative idiopathic some Romanian, and 33 met the criterion for other specified Dissociative Identity Disorder. The remaining 19 met criteria only for some and schizosomatization. There are many possible causes of maladaptive daydreaming disorders. Some possibilities include:
Therapy for maladaptive daydreaming
When considering therapy for maladaptive daydreaming, it is important to understand that there are many potential treatments that could help you. However, the most effective treatment in terms of a clinician’s experience and expertise would be to provide exposure to trauma. For instance, if you are an individual suffering from dissociative identity disorder, your first line of defense is likely going to be dealing with your anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The goal of this exposure is twofold: first, to remove the barrier between you and your fears, and second, to create a space that will allow you to work through the emotions that are plaguing you. This may take you to some scary and overwhelming places but if it is done during your therapy sessions, you are likely to be much better equipped to deal with these things.
This form of therapy also takes into account the fact that people daydream in different ways. These different ways could help you determine what areas of life are causing you undue stress or unhappiness. Once you have identified what is triggering your distress, you can work with your therapist to uncover the purpose of your maladaptive daydreaming and develop a plan for how to take back control of your life. One of the most common reasons why people daydream is because they feel a sense of anxiety or stress in an area of their life. If you can identify the trigger that is bringing about your distress, then you can easily begin to develop strategies for combating your feelings of anxiety and distress.
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Benefits of Therapy for Maladaptive Daydreaming
The benefits of therapy for maladaptive daydreaming often extend beyond the individuals experiencing them. Most psychiatric inpatients report positive changes and improvements when they are undergoing therapy as a means of controlling their symptoms. In fact, those with dissociative disorders and other mental health problems are often able to benefit from this form of treatment as well. This is due to the nature of these types of disorders and the extreme level of difficulty that they present to address.
When you daydream, you are passing through a sort of dream state. These experiences are described as “what you see is what you get” and help you to overcome the obstacles of your mind. Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from these disorders cannot seem to get a good night’s sleep and are more prone to experiencing strange dream-related experiences during the day. Maladaptive daydreaming often occurs when the sufferer is faced with extreme stress or trauma in their lives and will result in negative and/ or traumatic daydreams that manifest as disturbing stories lines.
Unfortunately, the maladjusted individual must first identify the cause of their distress before they can work towards a solution to their problem. The storyline, if left unchecked, will continue to progress until it reaches a point where the patient will lose total control over their life. If this happens, then a mental health professional should be contacted. These professionals have experience in dealing with distress related to maladaptive daydreaming and can help you deal with this condition before it gets out of hand and results in severe injury or loss of life.