Table of Contents
- What Is Maladaptive Daydreaming?
- Evaluating the Diagnostic Criteria
- Symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming
- What’s the Difference Between Maladaptive Daydreaming and Daydreaming?
- Maladaptive Daydreaming Causes
- Maladaptive Daydreaming Treatment How can I treat Maladaptive Daydreaming?
- Maladaptive Daydreaming Diagnosis
- Is Maladaptive Daydreaming Dangerous?
- How Do You Cure Maladaptive Daydreaming?
What Is Maladaptive Daydreaming?
A subset of people with maladaptive Daydreaming in the general population might meet diagnostic criteria for other psychiatric disorders not yet considered in connection with their excessive Daydreaming. For example, high Daydreaming could be confused with symptoms of schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition, some maladaptive daydreamers may have bipolar disorder.
Some individuals with maladaptive daydreaming report that excessive Daydreaming is more likely to occur when they are in an overly excited mood. Recent research in neurobiology suggests a group of people with MD might experience impaired executive function and compromised working memory.
Evaluating the Diagnostic Criteria
As discussed above, if someone experiences excess or compulsive fantasizing not related to their past. Especially when trying to study or work, this could be considered part of their diagnostic criteria for Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder.
However, it can also be helpful to talk about one’s daydreams in terms of “absorption” vs. “imagination.” As an imaginary world becomes more accurate, it is increasingly difficult not to get absorbed by it – ‘lose oneself in the daydream,’ which seems to be a defining feature for MD.
MD can lead someone to withdraw from reality and even engage in dangerous activities such as car accidents or drug abuse. Daydreamers report that they do not experience any emotions or sensations when they daydream.
Sensory responses depend on what part of their imagination projects them into the alternative world (what kind of grass do you feel under your feet? What does the air smell? Like?). In addition, people tend to report a lack of agency while engaged in their daydreams: they feel like passive observers, watching someone else doing things (Blakemore).
There is a category of people that could be called maladaptive daydreamers. These are people who have found an escape in their imaginations and let it take over their lives to the point where they mostly live inside their heads.
They don’t want to stop because they enjoy the fantasy world more than reality, even though this keeps them from living everyday lives with friends and family or having careers. A person can be considered MD if they spend most of their time fantasizing, prefer the fantasies to real life, let them interfere with school or work, or find that many of their relationships are hurt by neglecting others.
Symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming
It is not uncommon for people to experience intense, vivid daydreams. These often take the form of an elaborate story with characters and settings that can last hours at a time if they aren’t interrupted by reality or external stimuli like noise pollution in your home environment, which will trigger more thoughts.
It has been said that some people may have trouble focusing on daily tasks due to their addiction to these types of fantasies where you don’t want them stopped until another one takes over, which happens without intention because this behavior becomes automatic after repetition. However, there are other symptoms too including trouble sleeping as well as irregular heartbeat patterns, a sign something needs medical attention right away.
Adverse Effects of Maladaptive Daydreaming Complications
MD can occur in all fields of a person’s life. For example, it is not uncommon to see university students with MD as they often become alienated from their peers through neglect or fall into deep states of absorption.
That makes it difficult for them to follow lecture material and engage in everyday conversation. Similarly, people who work with computers may experience difficulty completing tasks on time as the nature of Daydreaming requires significant amounts of time and energy to come up with the content for these fantasies.
Maladaptive Daydreaming is considered a disorder if it takes over one’s life and impairs relationships or career paths. It can lead someone to withdraw from reality and even engage in dangerous activities such as car accidents or drug abuse.
People who experience MD don’t appear to feel emotions. The sensory responses they think seem to be based on what part of their imaginary world they were daydreaming about (like feeling the grass under their feet or smelling some air.
What’s the Difference Between Maladaptive Daydreaming and Daydreaming?
A critical difference between normal Daydreaming and M-daydreaming is that maladaptive daydreamers usually experience familiar feelings of guilt after indulging in the fantasies. Especially if they’ve neglected loved ones or fallen behind on work.
The daily aspects of life are also affected by MD. Most people with this condition prefer to spend most of their time fantasizing about real life. Even though this keeps them from living everyday lives with friends and family or having careers.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Causes
So what causes Maladaptive Daydreaming?
There is no definitive cause, however, several medical or psychological issues could be contributing factors, including loneliness, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), or bipolar disorder.
These conditions could lead people to develop the need for more stimulating daydreams to escape their problems which causes them to engage in regular fantasies that can take over their lives and affect relationships with family members or friends.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Treatment How can I treat Maladaptive Daydreaming?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one way of treatment where a person uses coping strategies (similar to those used for people living with PTSD) like learning how to recognize triggers, cope with anxiety, control impulses, and self-soothe through relaxation techniques. However, since MD does not physically impact the body, it makes it difficult for doctors who cannot prescribe medication as an easy fix.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Diagnosis
MD is not on the list in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which means it has yet to be officially recognized as an affliction by American psychiatry. However, many people are familiar with this condition through online forums to find comfort in knowing that others have shared similar symptoms.
Is Maladaptive Daydreaming Dangerous?
Maladaptive Daydreaming is not physically dangerous, but neglecting oneself, responsibilities, or family can cause significant mental distress over time.
A person who engages in MD may become so wrapped up in their fantasies that they have trouble stopping them, which could lead to severe problems with concentration at work or school, which results in lower grades or even getting fired.
The key to overcoming Excessive Daydreaming is recognizing when it becomes a problem and taking steps to stop the fantasies. This can be done with self-help books, online forums, or even by enlisting the help of counselors in your area who specialize in CBT.
How Do You Cure Maladaptive Daydreaming?
There is no cure for MD, however, since sufferers report that this condition seems to originate from loneliness, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), or bipolar disorder. Treating one of these may also help with ending daydreams. This means consulting a doctor or mental health professional and perhaps starting medication for any diagnosed co-conditions in hopes that it will stop the need to daydream and help you return to a normal lifestyle.
MD is not dangerous but may lead to neglecting responsibilities and relationships. A person with MD needs to find a way of coping that does not include traditional Daydreaming if they want to have normal relationships with friends or family.
MD affects 2% of adults worldwide, which means that millions of people are being held back from real life because of their maladaptive daydreams.
The daily aspects of life are also affected by MD. Most people with this condition prefer to spend most of their time fantasizing about real life, Even though this keeps them from living everyday lives with friends and family or having careers.
The difference between normal Daydreaming and M-daydreaming is that maladaptive daydreamers usually live in their fantasies and daydream well into adulthood rather than growing out of it as most people do. We hope you liked the article.