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Maladaptive daydreaming

Maladaptive daydreaming

Maladaptive daydreamingispsychological concept to describe an extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning. It might be related to childhood emotional neglect or abuse that motivates victims to divorce from the threatening world.

Signs and symptoms

Maladaptive daydreamers will have ‘triggers’ that set off their daydreams. Common triggers are books, movies, music, and even riding in a car. Maladaptive daydreamers also may have trouble getting out of bed or going to sleep, due to the want to continue daydreaming. Often times while maladaptive daydreamers are daydreaming they will whisper, talk, make facial expressions, or do some sort of repetitive movement.

Maladaptive daydreamers can spend hours simply daydreaming. They often have elaborate fantasies within their minds, often comparable to a complete novel or movie. Many have more than one fantasy in their mind, each with its own characters, setting, plots, etc. Maladaptive daydreamers may become emotionally attached to their characters as well, though they know the characters are not real.


The Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS) is a 14-item self-report instrument designed to gauge abnormal fantasizing. It is a statistically valid and reliable measure of MD that differentiates well between MDers and non-MDers.Mental health diagnoses are only determined based on clinician-administered structured interviews.Hence, no official diagnostic tool has been developed to diagnose MD. There is no official diagnostic tool has been developed to diagnose MD.


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