Do you find yourself daydreaming so much that begins to negatively interfere with your life? This is a central theme of maladaptive dreaming — a type of daydreaming that disturbs everyday functioning. There are more signs of this phenomena, and I will discuss 5 signs of maladaptive daydreaming (MD) below. However, please note that maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is not classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and has limited research compared to other well-known disorders. Do not try to diagnose yourself!
1. You get so caught up in daydreaming that you forget where you are
If you find yourself confused about where you are or what you’re doing because you’re daydreaming excessively, it could be negatively impacting your work and personal life.
2. You feel distressed about the amount of time you spend daydreaming
Patients who reported excessive maladaptive dreaming also reported distress that rooted from their quantity of time devoted to daydreaming. For example, a woman struggling with MD reported walking in circles shaking a string for several hours a day. She enjoyed doing that, but was distressed by the amount of time she spent daydreaming. She had other obligations she could not do because she spent all her time daydreaming!
3. You would rather daydream than talk to people
If you find yourself preferring to daydream over other social activities or hobbies, then you may be experiencing a symptom of maladaptive dreaming. This was identified as a common symptom among people who struggle with MD. For example,
4. Daydreaming changes your perception of the world
People who report MD express that they feel things, hear sounds, see visuals at a much more intense level as they dream. In one case, a person reported a heightened presence in their dreams, whereas in another case, a patient said they felt less pain because they were fantasizing about their idealized self.
5. You cannot control daydreaming
Some people experience challenges in limiting their time daydreaming. If someone is unable to keep their daydreaming amount in check, this may be an underlying sign of a problem.
There you have it: 5 Signs of Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD). If you’re curious to learn more about maladaptive daydreaming, check out a short questionnaire created by an academic of this concept here, if you’ll like to read my recent article, click here.
Somer, E., Bigelsen, J., Lehrfeld, J., & Jopp, D. (n.d.). The 16-item Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS-16). Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://www.somer.co.il/images/MD/Eng-MDS-16.pdf
Somer, E., Lehrfeld, J., Bigelsen, J., & Jopp, D. S. (2016). Development and validation of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). Consciousness and cognition, 39, 77-91.
Somer, E. (2002). Maladaptive daydreaming: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 32(2-3), 197-212.