What Is Maladaptive Daydreaming?

The maladaptive daydreaming case is a whole new form of daydreaming where your realistic daydream tendencies cross the line of your reality.

woman having maladaptive day dreaming

Have you ever tried taking a shower and then suddenly your mind wanders off? You didn’t even notice the spilling water on your tub. Have you tried eating a sandwich and then 30 minutes later, you caught yourself staring into a void with something in mind? If your daydreams and little imaginations get in the way of what you actually are currently doing, you might have a case of maladaptive daydreaming.

Maladaptive Daydreaming

The maladaptive daydreaming case is not yet accepted or recognized as a form of mental illness, but the mental world is aware of it.

The maladaptive daydreaming case is a whole new form of daydreaming. In daydreaming, your mind can still subconsciously, separate the daydream from reality but in the maladaptive daydreaming case, your realistic daydream tendencies cross the line of your reality.

It does become handy when you wanted to flee reality sometimes. The maladaptive daydreaming case is sort of amazing, you do not need any hallucinating tendencies to have these experiences, but it can be out of hand sometimes.


Human nature has the inherent ability to adapt. The adapting ability of human beings enables us to survive in the daily hustle and bustle of life. Imagine not being adapting to your environment. Say, for example, you live in Canada which is like forever cold, and you just go full-blown hobo of building a hut of wood, do you think you’ll survive?

Adapting is good and not a problem at all, but when you are adding the prefix mal into adaptive, it becomes something not correct. The “ma” term comes from the French word which means, not correct, wrong, or not appropriate.

The reasoning why maladaptive is wrong is because you are using adaptability too much that you are actually refusing to address the real situation. Instead, you choose to avoid the situation and flee away from them entirely.

A physical manifestation of maladaptiveness which is quite popular is nail-biting. The habit of nail-biting becomes a maladaptive practice when they are stressed, or they have anxieties and depression. Yes, nail-biting might be a coping mechanism, but they are not really good coping mechanism and does nothing at all to solve the problems.

Sometimes, the cause of maladaptive daydreaming case roots from a childhood experience. Psychologists often note that childhood explains a lot of your adult behaviors because this is the time where you get to be molded and developed by your environment and the people who have touched your childhood history.

The maladaptive daydreaming case seems quite understandable or tolerable, it looks like it does not cause any troubles at all but when does it start to be ugly?


Daydream is our usual thoughts of picture and sceneries of whatever we want to think at the moment. There is nothing real about daydreams. Every person experiences and has the ability to daydream; however, at times, a person gets too absorbed in the daydream that he is imagining.

The daydreams that we are talking about here are not the normal thoughts that we get to think every day, like what will I wear tomorrow or what is the next dish that I am going to learn next.

These daydreams are nothing like errant thoughts; they are more of what a future holds like thoughts. These daydreams are pretty elaborate and so visual that the person experiencing this might have the tendency to blur out reality with what he is thinking. These daydreams are fantasies that to a person who is experiencing it, might even feel them as tangible as their mind can make them be.

Do not misunderstand but daydreams are actually healthy exercises for the brain and for our well being. So in general, daydreaming is not bad at all.

Daydreaming is healthy if it gives our brain a daily dose of imagination, creativity, and sensibility. Daydreaming at times gives us hope too and makes us more positive about the future.

A daydream becomes maladaptive when it starts to obstruct and disrupt your everyday life activities. Daydreams turn maladaptive when it renders the following but not limited to:

  1. You made daydreams a habit of addressing your real, current situation;
  2. You fail to be present in your current life because you consciously choose to daydream.

The Signs

The maladaptive daydreaming case is still not a disorder but it is recognized by psychologists and in mental institutions but it is not accepted as a mental health disorder. The maladaptive daydreaming case unofficial status is due to a lack of consistent and elaborate information about it. Therefore, there is no official list of symptoms of the maladaptive daydreaming case. Using the term symptoms makes the maladaptive daydreaming case more like a disorder. For this article, we will call it, the signs of the maladaptive daydreaming case.


The maladaptive daydreaming case is almost tangible because of the elaborate effort the mind puts into the visual, the scene, the picture, the plot, the characters on it, the sensation, and so on and so forth.

Lasts for a long period of time

The maladaptive daydreaming case seems to last for a very long time. The person who does a maladaptive daydreaming case often gets a very strong desire to be immersed in it habitually.

Gets in the way of living your life

The maladaptive daydreaming case disrupts your reality and makes you flee from addressing your current situation. The maladaptive daydreaming case might even isolate you from people. You sometimes prefer to be left alone with your own thoughts that converse to someone.

Physical manifestations

In a more severe form of maladaptive daydreaming case, the person might be manifesting physical movements like sitting down in a relaxed mode and then rocking back and forth continuously without even the signs of stopping. The person having a maladaptive daydreaming case might make facial expressions that mimic the expression that he makes in his maladaptive daydream. Having these symptoms should prompt you or somebody in admitting you to a nearby hospital.

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