If you find yourself floating in your fantasies and dreaming during a class or while your boss is talking about the sales target, then chances are that you may have Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD).

This term is still not officially recognized and the condition is, at times, related to other mental conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and even schizophrenia. However, the condition of maladaptive daydreamer is different.

What is maladaptive daydreaming?

Maladaptive daydreaming is a psychiatric condition, which was identified by Eliezer Somer, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel. Like schizophrenia, it involves thinking and imagining fantasies, the person who goes through maladaptive daydreaming has an active imagination and are involved in dreaming about their made up fantasies for a longer part of their day.

However, that is not the end for them unlike those who are psychotic or schizophrenic and believe their fantasies to be real. Maladaptive daydreamers are aware of their fantasies and know that they aren’t real. These people will themselves daydreaming and register those moments while actively trying to bring themselves out of it.

There are various factors that can lead to maladaptive daydreaming, and though the segments where the sufferer experiences this condition aren’t real, they may be triggered by real-life events.

Certain topics of discussion, some life experiences, and at time triggers like noise and smell play an active part in maladaptive daydreaming. The condition is not registered and recognized medically yet. Even so, many specialists say that it can affect the daily life of the person.

Common Symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming:

  1.    Talking and whispering to oneself

People with maladaptive daydreaming have vivid imaginations that they start speaking or whispering the words they imagine themselves saying. Their thinking is loud enough for the words to be heard by others. This is the reason that maladaptive daydreaming is, at times, confused with other psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia.

  1.    The patients may have compulsive reactions

Similarly, as they speak they also show physical reactions to their daydreaming in some instances. They might clap, tap their foot, shake head, or anything that is the representation that they are not mentally present and are most likely in the dream world. This symptoms them relates to OCD.

  1.    Vivid and active imaginations

Imaginations and fantasy can be about anything at all that pleases the mind and that is the reason that it is strong and undeniable. There are many creative people who might have MD and should put it to use by creating new and good content like stories and plays.

  1.    Difficulty in sleeping:

Bedtime is the time of the day when a person is alone and the brain has enough time to wonder. This is the reason that people with maladaptive daydreaming find it hard to fall asleep. Their mind is active enough to make them think continuously and they are consumed by their alternative life which doesn’t let them rest.

  1.    Long hours of daydreaming:

Fantasizing and dreaming is normal but people with MD dream more than a few seconds of the day. They can spend hours thinking and imagining about their imaginary life and it can be prolonged. They come in and out of it by paying attention but it consumes a major part of their day, which makes it difficult for them to complete tasks, concentrate on their work, and hinder their lifestyle.

Bottom line

Maladaptive daydreaming is becoming common among many. In some cases, it can be any past experience or social anxiety that results in a person becoming a maladaptive daydreamer. As there is no known treatment for it, people with MD may be given medicines that are prescribed for OCD.