Maladaptive daydreaming

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Maladaptive daydreaming, also called excessive daydreaming, is a proposed diagnosis of a disordered form of dissociative absorption associated with excessive fantasy that is not recognized by any major medical or psychological criteria. It can result in distress, can replace human interaction and may interfere with normal functioning such as social life or work.[1][unreliable medical source?][2] Maladaptive daydreaming is not a widely recognised diagnosis, and is not found in any major diagnostic manual of psychiatry or medicine.[3] The person who coined the term is of University of Haifa Professor Eli Somer in the year 2002.[2] Somer's definition of the proposed condition is “extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.”[2] There has been limited research outside of Somer's.

Range of daydreaming[edit]

Daydreaming, a form of normal dissociation associated with absorption, is a highly prevalent mental activity experienced by almost everyone.[unreliable medical source?][4]

Some individuals reportedly possess the ability to daydream so vividly that they experience a sense of presence in the imagined environment.[unreliable medical source?][2] This experience is reported to be extremely rewarding to the extent that some of those who experience it develop a compulsion to repeat it that it has been described as an addiction.[unreliable medical source?][5][6][7]

Somer has proposed "stimuli" for maladaptive daydreams that may relate to specific locations. The main proposed symptom is extremely vivid fantasies with "story-like features", such as the daydream's characters, plots and settings.[unreliable medical source?][8]

Somer has argued that maladaptive daydreaming is not a form of psychosis.[unreliable medical source?][8]

Online support[edit]

Whilst maladaptive daydreaming is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, it has spawned online and real-world support groups[citation needed] since Somer first reported the proposed disorder in 2002.[9]


Maladaptive daydreaming is currently studied by a consortium of researchers from diverse countries including the USA, Poland, Switzerland and Israel.[10][6][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tomalski R, Pietkiewicz IJ (September 2018). "Maladaptive daydreaming as a new form of behavioral addiction". Journal of Behavioral Addictions. doi:10.1556/2006.7.2018.95. PMID 30238787. Retrieved 20 Oct 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Somer, Eli (Fall 2002). "Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry" (PDF).
  3. ^ "DSM-5". Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  4. ^ Singer, J. L. (1966) Daydreaming. New York, NY: Random House
  5. ^ Somer, E.; Somer, L.; Jopp, S.D. (9 June 2016). "Parallel lives: A phenomenological study of the lived experience of maladaptive daydreaming". Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 17 (5): 561–576. doi:10.1080/15299732.2016.1160463. PMID 26943233. S2CID 970330.
  6. ^ a b Bigelsen, J., J.; Schupak, C. (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. PMID 21959201. S2CID 206954778.
  7. ^ Pietkiewicz, I.J.; Nęcki, S.; Bańbura, A,; Tomalski, R. (August 2018). "Maladaptive daydreaming as a new form of behavioral addiction". Journal of Behavioral Addictions. 7 (3): 838–843. doi:10.1556/2006.7.2018.95. PMC 6426361. PMID 30238787.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. ^ a b "Maladaptive Daydreaming: Scale, Symptoms, and Treatments". 2017-04-26.
  9. ^ Bershtling, O., & Somer, E. (27 August 2018). "The Micro-Politics of a New Mental Condition: Legitimization in Maladaptive Daydreamers' Discourse". The Qualitative Report.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Maladaptive Daydreaming Publications". The International Consortium for Maladaptive Daydreaming Research (ICMDR).
  11. ^ Bigelse, Jayne; Lehrfeld, Jonathan M.; Jopp, Daniela S.; Somer, Eli (May 2016). "Maladaptive daydreaming: Evidence for an under-researched mental health disorder". Consciousness and Cognition. 42: 254–266. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2016.03.017. PMID 27082138. S2CID 4838048.