- Maladaptive dreaming is when people spend long periods of time in structured daydreams or fantasies.
- Symptoms include vivid, immersive, and long daydreams that are hard to escape. An inability to be productive, insomnia, and unconscious movements when daydreaming.
- They’re often triggered by specific events, a picture, movie, or news story, sensory stimuli, internet use, etc.
- There is no treatment, but may be managed with better sleep, therapy, identify and avoid triggers, and informing oneself and others of the potential symptoms.
We’ve all been there before, likely during a long day at school or work. You drift off into a daydream about something, anything more interesting. Maybe it’s about being on vacation, a high school crush, or just what it would be like to be someone else. You’re pulled back to reality a few moments later and carry on. This type of behavior is totally normal and nothing to be concerned about.
While daydreaming is often harmless, maladaptive daydreaming can have a hugely negative impact on a person’s life. While it’s not recognized as an official medical condition, most healthcare professionals are familiar with it. To learn more about this condition, here’s a look into what maladaptive dreaming is, the symptoms, causes, and potential treatment options…
What is Maladaptive Dreaming?
Maladaptive dreaming is essentially daydreaming, but a much more intense version of it. People with this condition will spend long periods of time engaged in these daydream fantasies and have trouble focusing or engaging in their real life. It can have a serious impact on their daily life, particularly their productivity at work or in school, says Healthline.
According to Healthline, the condition is relatively new. It was first described in 2002 by professor Eliezer Somer of the University of Haifa in Israel. There is still a lot of unknown surrounding maladaptive dreaming, but it does share some features with behavioral addictions like gaming or alcohol. These daydreams can be triggered by certain events like a specific topic of conversation, picture, movie or news story, internet use, sensory stimuli, and physical experiences.
Currently, there is no official diagnosis for maladaptive dreaming, and Healthline states that it does not have a category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).