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Daydreaming is normal. People do it every once in a while, some of us even do it every day. But what happens when it is the only thing that you do? There are some people that daydream so explicitly that they get lost in the imaginary world that they have created. This is maladaptive daydreaming or simply MD. Very little people are aware that this is a psychiatric condition.

What is Maladaptive Daydreaming? 

While studying dissociative behaviors during the early 2000s, Eliezer Somer, Israeli Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Haifa identified this condition. MD is a form of dissociation from reality, a way of starting to exist in this vivid and creative reality or what could be an alternate reality. 

In these new realities, they tend to be scenarios that the person wants. They may include conversations, physical experiences, or sensory events. People that suffer from this condition have reported that they spend about 60 percent of their waking time in an imaginary world they have created. 

This is considered to be a condition because a lot of people that have this condition often get distracted and have difficulty moving through their day-to-day tasks. 

Some experts believe that this behavioral issue. While some may believe this, MD is still being researched and has yet to be considered a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Symptoms 

For those that have this alleged disorder, they may experience one or more symptoms. Some of the symptoms include:

 

– Difficulty completing daily task 

– Difficulty sleeping 

– Incredibly vivid characters, plots, settings, and other story-like details

– Making facial expressions while daydreaming 

– The desire to continue daydreaming 

– Daydreaming for extended periods of time (from minutes to hours) 

Experts have not been able to point to what exactly causes MD. 

Diagnosis 

This condition does not have an exact way to be diagnosed but Professor Somer created the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). With this scale, it can help someone identify if they do have or at least experienced MD. 

– the content and quality (detail) of dreams

– a person’s ability to control their dreams and compulsion to dream

– the amount of distress caused by daydreaming

– a person’s perceived benefits of daydreaming

– how much daydreaming interferes with a person’s ability to carry out their daily activities

Alongside this, people may also be asked to rate how often they experience MD.

MD can often be diagnosed as schizophrenia which is a type of psychosis. This is due to the fact that people with schizophrenia often have a difficult time separate reality from fantasy. Somer says that this is not the case because people with MD are able to differentiate their daydreams from reality. 

 

Developing Other Conditions 

Although it is not fully understood as to how they are related, some that experience MD may also experience the following: 

– Depression 

– Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

– Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Moving Forward
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MD is a mystery and will take time to fully understand. If you or someone you know may have MD comprehend that there are people going through the same thing. To better understand yourself with MD join support groups and talk to your doctor about your symptoms. There is an online server called Daydream In Blue dedicated to maladaptive daydreamers. 

Jasmin Small

Valdosta '23

Hey ladies!! I am a student Valdosta State University. (Class of 2023 WHOOP WHOOP) I major in journalism and minor in mass media. I'm a pretty fun person to be around (at least I hope that I am).
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