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Understanding Maladaptive Daydreaming


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.

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