Maladaptive Daydreaming – What Is This Disorder & Its Symptoms?

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This is what maladaptive daydreaming means or sometimes called the daydreaming disorder.

MALADAPTIVE DAYDREAMING – This condition is also known as the daydreaming disorder and here is its set of symptoms and triggers.

The Cleveland Clinic defined maladaptive daydreaming as “a behavior where a person spends an excessive amount of time daydreaming, often becoming immersed in their imagination”.

Maladaptive Daydreaming
Photo lifted from Research Digest

And many people have gone through this perhaps where you get lost in something and that imagination becomes ultimately distracting already although were not clinically diagnosed. And such daydreams are extremely vivid and detailed that it’s already disturbing and in some cases, impossible to have control of.

However, this condition also called the daydreaming disorder usually happens to people who have suffered trauma, abuse, or loneliness. This is their coping mechanism in response to these negative events in their lives.

It is the world they created to escape in times of distress and it’s a vicious cycle – a cycle of addiction. It interferes with studying, working, and among other things because they get emotionally attached to it. It impairs their function in reality and sometimes, it can affect hobbies, friendships, and relationships.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, certain types of depression, dissociative disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are some conditions where this disorder is common according to an article from the Cleveland Clinic.

Some researchers suggested the exposure and response prevention (ERP) technique to reduce the episodes of daydreaming or eventually stop it. A study in 2008 also found fluvoxamine (Luvox) to be effective in managing daydreams.

Some triggers include noise, smell, conversation topic, or movie.

Here are some signs and symptoms:

  • vivid daydreams with a detailed story, characters, settings, and plot
  • facial expressions that are done unconsciously along with repetitive body movements or talking and whispering
  • daydreams that last for several minutes to hours
  • one has this strong urge and desire to do it
  • difficulty in doing and completing one’s routines
  • difficulty sleeping


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