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Have you ever seen how our mind tends to drift whenever we have a sluggish day on the office?

Or perhaps you enjoy spending your free time in bed, trying at the ceiling and that imagining totally different scenarios.

For a few of us, fantasy is a manner of finding artistic solutions to sophisticated problems. Others, however, resort to maladaptive daydreaming as an alternative choice to the mundane elements of reality.

While some try to turn desires into reality, others select to witness how reality fades in the shadow of grand fantasies.

The point is, all of us have moments when we let our imagination loose and immerse ourselves in all sorts of fantasies.

Although experts consider daydreaming is a traditional and relatively healthy phenomenon, there are some who see it as a warning sign.

So, when does mind-wandering turn into maladaptive daydreaming?

What’s Maladaptive Daydreaming?
In keeping with some experts, maladaptive daydreaming is "an excessive type of undesirable daydreaming that produces a rewarding expertise based mostly on a created fantasy of a parallel reality related to a profound sense of presence."

However leaving aside ‘textual contentbook’ definitions, maladaptive daydreaming refers to our tendency to immerse ourselves in fantasies; to escape in an imaginary world where we can be no matter we want to be or do whatever we want to do.

And you may probably imagine how tempting it is to ‘lose your self’ in all kinds of imaginary scenarios, particularly when your reality may not be that exciting, stimulating, or rewarding.

Though clinicians have yet to find out the factors that generate this problem, some experts imagine maladaptive daydreaming can occur throughout childhood.

In different words, even from an early age, a few of us be taught to daydream and spend hours imagining a greater model of our selves and our environment. Maybe this coping mechanism – as maladaptive as it might be – helps us deal with the adversities that life occasionally throws down our path.

However as you can probably imagine, this strategy doesn’t resolve the problem, and in the end, reality will slap us in the face.

Since maladaptive daydreaming isn’t listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Mental Problems (DSM), researchers have paid little attention to this condition.

As one 2016 paper published in Consciousness and Cognition highlights, maladaptive daydreaming is an underneath-researched condition that should receive more attention from the scientific community.

What Are Its Signs and Symptoms?
One of the questions that seem to be on everybody’s lips is - The place will we draw the road between healthy and maladaptive daydreaming?

On the one hand, it’s normal – even helpful - to fantasize about all types of eventualities and perhaps come up with an motion plan. However, when you spend an excessive amount of time fantasizing, you risk wasting time and energy on something that’s purely imaginary.

Happily, specialists who’ve studied this situation have come up with a list of symptoms that can provide help to determine if you are in fact dealing with a problematic type of daydreaming.

Although the DSM-V doesn’t recognize maladaptive daydreaming as a psychological dysfunction, Eliezer Somer – the clinical psychologist who recognized this condition – has developed a scale that measures irregular fantasizing.

A latest study revealed in Consciousness and Cognition revealed that the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS) demonstrates good validity and internal consistency.

Such evaluation instruments are essential as they help clinicians diagnose this situation and recommend an appropriate course of action.

Can Maladaptive Daydreaming Lead to Despair?
Just like another emotional or behavioral problem, maladaptive daydreaming can generally accompany different issues.

One study revealed in Frontiers in Psychiatry revealed that maladaptive daydreaming tends to accompany obsessive-compulsive symptoms. [5] In different words, our constant fantasizing may be a ritual that alleviates your intrusive thoughts.

If we think about it, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are preoccupied continuously with uncontrollable obsessions (thoughts and ideas) that will not have anything to do with reality. For instance, in case you’re coping with a purely obsessional type of OCD, you may be inclined to spend so much of time worrying about varied worst-case scenarios. Basically, maladaptive daydreaming may very well be nothing more than a symptom of OCD.

Some consultants consider fluvoxamine (an antidepressant used for obsessive-compulsive disorder) may be a viable treatment for maladaptive daydreaming.

Another type of psychological sickness that will hold the answer to why we have a tendency to engage in daydreaming is depression. For these of you who don’t know, depression is an emotional disorder that can impact our lives in a profoundly negative manner.

From an absence of energy and motivation to low self-esteem and an overall ‘grim’ perspective on life, depressive issues can cause a lot of problems in our personal and professional life.

People who battle with melancholy are likely to ruminate a lot. In other words, they spend hours specializing in their negative ideas and that imagining numerous ‘grim’ scenarios. So just like within the case of OCD, maladaptive daydreaming may very well be the symptom of a broader pathology.

Long story quick, there are cases when fixed fantasizing is part of a psychological problem and instances when maladaptive daydreaming may be a ‘stand-alone’ condition.

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