Author: Katie Hemming
It’s normal to drift off into your own imaginary world sometimes, but some people can’t get themselves out of that world without help from others. You’re constantly stuck inside a dream world. This is Maladaptive Daydreaming (or MADD for short)
From time to time Maladaptive Daydreaming may manifest in a few ways, for example, neglecting to clean or tidy the house, not being sociable with guests, seeming lazy or uninterested; caught in their own world. Have you or someone you know ragged on someone who might be suffering from maladaptive daydreaming lately for not cleaning up the house? Or for not being sociable when there are guests? It’s not just because the person doesn’t care or that they’re lazy, it’s because of their in their own world. Anyone can be a maladaptive daydreamer and age doesn’t really matter either. There are not many simple facts about Maladaptive Daydreaming for the exception of that age doesn’t factor into this new diagnosis.
What is Maladaptive Daydreaming? People who are on the maladaptive daydreaming spectrum (yes there is a spectrum) create entire worlds and characters inside their minds. They can have original main characters or themselves but with a desired personality or persona they wish to have as the main character, in the narrative. They can have multiple universes they build with various different characters. Thus, the time that someone can be caught in a Maladaptive Daydreaming episode can be lengthy. This can be witnessed by episodes that last hours, or even days.
Where can Maladaptive Daydreaming occur? Anywhere! Maladaptive Daydreamers can be pretty oblivious to their surroundings and become quite forgetful. At home things can become a mess; dirty clothes don’t get washed, dishes aren’t cleaned, the garbage has not being taken out, the house is an overall mess. This is the ultimate form of distraction.
When does this occur? The time of day is irrelevant for Maladaptive Daydreamers.
Usually, people who suffer from this can daydream for hours or in extreme cases for days on end if they are alone and interrupted. It can also happen out of the blue if they’re doing something which can be dangerous if they are doing something physically demanding. Common triggers for severe daydreaming can be a number of things, music is a common one. For others, a trigger may be tv shows and movies, it can also be triggered by real life events or can be a mixture of things.
Why do people daydream excessively? There are a number of reasons, those reasons being that for some it’s a coping mechanism stemming from abuse (of all forms), for others it comes along with another mental issue (like ADHD, ADD, Autism/Asperger’s, etc) and from people who just can get very overwhelmed and like to escape but it gets excessive for them. People like to daydream, we all do it. It’s just that those who have other health and/or developmental problems or just have severe maladaptive daydreaming, have trouble bringing themselves out of it and can cause interference in everyday life.
Is it curable? It is uncertain, some people may be able to be cured in different ways and for others, it may be more challenging. It’s not even recognized as a developmental issue and is often misdiagnosed by doctors and psychiatrists as other mental illnesses. But progress is being made and more doctors and psychiatrist are recognizing the illness. There is still no proper treatment though.
Various things can help decrease it like meditation, binaural beats/waves and hypnosis being around other people and socializing, writing, and exercise. Online communities and blogs are becoming more visible to people and can be really helpful for those who are looking for support.