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Maladaptive daydreaming (Compulsive Fantasy) is a term first proposed by Eli Sómer, Ph.D., to describe a condition in which an individual excessively daydreams or fantasizes, sometimes as a psychological response to prior trauma or abuse. This title has become popularly generalized[clarification needed] to incorporate a recently-described syndrome of immersive or excessive daydreaming which is specifically characterized by attendant distress or functional impairment, whether or not it is contingent upon a history of trauma or abuse, as introduced in 2009 by Cynthia Schupak, Ph.D. and Jesse Rosenthal, M.D. of New York City. Dr. Schupak and her colleagues published the results of a follow-up study based on an email questionnaire in 2011.
Excessive daydreaming may begin as an outlet for creativity or as a method of escaping trauma or abuse. The daydreamers experience very vivid and intricate fantasies and may become emotionally attached to the characters in their fantasies or express emotions they are feeling through vocal utterances or changing facial expressions, although most keep such behavior hidden from others. People with Maladaptive Daydreaming know the difference between reality and fantasy; they realize that everything they are dreaming about is a fantasy. Some also exhibit symptoms similar to Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD or OCD[clarification needed].
Many people[quantify] have social anxiety and/or depression along with maladaptive daydreaming. A large number[clarification needed] also find their social lives are negatively impacted by this disorder.
A study of 90 individuals who self-identified as having excessive daydreams found that 79% had a kinesthetic repetitive movement accompany their daydreaming, such as pacing, rocking, tapping, or shaking an object. Many others also move their hands around, and give face expressions: laughing, crying, whispering, and gesturing with hands. Listening to music while daydreaming is common and hearing music may trigger a fantasy. A repetitive movement may be articulated to music while daydreaming. Watching a movie or reading a book, can also trigger a fantasy.
Many people have novel or movie type of fantasies. They create their own world, with characters, settings, plots, heroes, villains, friends, etc.
Some people have reported dizziness, headaches and other physical symptoms after daydreaming.
See also 
- Somer, Eli (2002). "Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry". Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy (Springer) 32 (2-3): 197–212.
- Ardino, Vittoria (ed.). Post-Traumatic Syndromes in Childhood and Adolescence. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-470-66929-7.
- Schupak, Cynthia; Rosenthal, Jesse (20 June 2007). "Excessive daydreaming: A case history and discussion of mind wandering and high fantasy proneness". Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1): 290–292. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2008.10.002.
- Bigelsen, Jayne; Schupak, Cynthia (1 December 2011). "Compulsive fantasy: Proposed evidence of an under-reported syndrome through a systematic study of 90 self-identified non-normative fantasizers". Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4): 1634–1648. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2011.08.013.
- "Wild Minds Network". A network of individuals seeking to advance the psychological community through our own personal journeys.