Is There A Test for Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder?

In this blog, we will cover all about maladaptive daydreaming disorder tests, and also include its causes, its symptoms, its treatment, and answer frequently asked questions.

Is There A Test for Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder?

Yes, there are tests that measure the issue of maladaptive daydreaming in people. The scale that measures maladaptive daydreaming is known as the Maladaptive daydreaming scale (MDS). We will discuss it in detail in the later sections. 

For reference purposes, you can use this test to assess your maladaptive daydreaming problem

This is an online test that asks you questions about your daydreaming, but remember this is an online test that is not a standardized test. 

This test is recommended as it gives you an insight into your daydreaming habit and helps you to take your concerns seriously and go to a trained professional for further examination and diagnosis. 

A trained professional who works with such issues will help you determine if your daydreaming is actually maladaptive, test you for it, and help you cope with your maladaptive daydreaming. 

Let us explore what is maladaptive daydreaming is and various aspects of it like the signs and symptoms, complications, etc. in the further sections. 

What is maladaptive daydreaming? 

It is also known as a daydreaming disorder, which is a condition in which a person has frequent, intense, and very distracting daydreams – so distracting, in fact, that the individual loses focus on the work, relationships, and things around them.

Real-life events or stimuli, such as noise, fragrance, conversation topic, or movie, might inspire daydreams.

Maladaptive dreamers often detach from reality in order to totally immerse themselves in their daydream, and they may unwittingly play out the behavior or speak speech for the characters in their vision. 

The daydreams’ content is extremely detailed and imaginative. Some have been described as soap operas, while others portray a perfect image of the daydreamer. 

Maladaptive daydreaming can also develop as a coping mechanism. It’s possible that the inner world might feel more secure than what’s going on outside in the real world.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with maladaptive daydreaming were found to be daydreaming more than usual as they experienced a lower level of control on daydreaming tendencies that resulted in more intense daydreams. 

The term “maladaptive daydreaming” was coined in 2002, however, it is still not recognized by the official diagnostic condition or a medical condition. Maladaptive daydreaming’s causes are unknown, although it appears to be more common among people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Over half of maladaptive daydreamers suffer from a mental illness.

Symptoms of maladaptive dreaming disorder 

The most common symptoms associated with this condition are:

  • Daydreams with their own characters, settings, narratives, and other rich, story-like elements that reflect a complex inner world real-life occurrences trigger daydreams
  • Having trouble doing basic everyday work an excessive desire to keep daydreaming while performing repetitive actions and making facial expressions while daydreaming
  • Whispering and chatting when daydreaming
  • Long periods of daydreaming (up to several hours)
  • A great deal of worry over daydreaming
  • The realization that one’s personal dream world differs from the outside real world

It is often seen that people discuss their daydreaming-related concerns but they are actually suffering from another condition known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In terms of content, controllability, recurrence, and your experience, including the discomfort it causes and its influence on daily life, maladaptive daydreaming differs from typical daydreaming.

According to experts Trusted Source writing in 2019, it’s also separate from normal mind wandering because it contains organized, consciously constructed imagination narratives. Mind-wandering, on the other hand, tends to happen on its own and is related to daily life.

Complications of maladaptive daydreaming 

Maladaptive daydreams can be really intense and long that the person loses touch with reality, significantly affecting their personal and professional relationships. 

Their performance in work and school also deteriorates. Research has shown that students who engaged in maladaptive daydreaming had lower GPAs than those who didn’t.

Daydreamers with maladaptive patterns may lose 4.5 hours of sleep every day because of their daydreams. They can get so engrossed in their dreamworld that it becomes difficult for them to remain grounded in reality. 

People may disregard their relationships and duties in the real world as a result of their daydreams’ all-consuming, immersive character, causing them mental misery. Unfortunately, despite their strong desire to daydream, most people experience mental distress as a result of doing so.

People who indulge in daydreaming are more likely to have sleep-related problems. Sleep deprivation is a symptom of maladaptive daydreaming, and it hinders one’s capacity to focus, concentrate, and pay attention. This could explain why a restless night’s sleep is often followed by a day of unproductive daydreaming.

Sleep difficulties are linked to dissociation, which is another indication of maladaptive daydreaming. Finally, insufficient sleep is connected to several of the mental health disorders linked to maladaptive daydreamings, such as anxiety and depression.

Diagnostic tests of maladaptive daydreaming

Maladaptive daydreaming currently does not have its own diagnosis, and there is no standardized way for diagnosing it. However, some methods can assist doctors in determining whether or not you are suffering from this disorder.

Methods used to test maladaptive daydreaming

The 16-item maladaptive daydreaming test will help you figure out whether you’re having trouble sleeping. This is a self-assessment tool that allows you to evaluate your own experiences.

Professor Somer also created the Structured Clinical Interview for Maladaptive Daydreaming (SCIMD). Doctors can use the SCIMD to elicit replies that can assist them to determine if you’re suffering from maladaptive daydreaming.

Other tools may be used by your doctor to determine whether your daydreaming is connected to other issues like:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Dissociation related disorders
  • ADHD
  • Other disorder that resembles or overlaps with maladaptive daydreaming 

Maladaptive daydreaming disorder test or scale

It’s an MDS-based questionnaire (Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale). The purpose is to evaluate your fantasies and find any uncommon or overwhelming desire to live in them. MD, in scientific terms, is a disorder that prevents people from living their daily lives by causing them to fantasize.

Professor Somer devised a 16-item test or scale that clinicians can use to determine whether or not a patient is engaging in maladaptive daydreaming.

There are 16 questions in total, and they cover the following topics:

  • daydreaming triggers 
  • physical signs of daydreaming,
  • how daydreaming feels to the individual, 
  • the influence of interruptions on daydreaming, 
  • the effect of not being able to daydream, 
  • how daydreaming impacts daily life, 
  • Does the person listen to music when daydreaming?

Each question is graded on a scale of zero dependence to one hundred percent and the results are calculated accordingly.

Treatment for maladaptive daydreaming

There are no evidence-based treatments for those who suffer from maladaptive daydreaming because it is not currently classified as an official disorder or mental health disorder.

Maladaptive daydreaming shares signs and symptoms with other curable mental health issues, thus some of the same therapies may be useful.

People who are battling with this issue should seek professional help, according to Dr. Somers, who is regarded as the top expert on maladaptive daydreaming. If one wishes to better control their fantasy life, I suggest seeking help from a mental health professional who specializes in treating habits and behavioral addictions,” he says. 

He also points out that because maladaptive daydreaming is frequently “used as self-medication for underlying suffering,” treating underlying issues such as trauma or other mental diseases may be important and helpful in this concern.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Therapy For Maladaptive Daydreaming

For many individuals with this problem, counseling may be an excellent place to start in order to overcome their daydreaming issues. Finding a therapist who specializes in trauma may be advantageous because there is a recognised correlation between childhood trauma and maladaptive daydreaming.  

A trauma therapist may be able to assist maladaptive daydreamers in identifying the source of their problem and resolving unresolved past difficulties.

People who struggle with daydreaming may benefit from third-wave therapies such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 

All of these therapies teach people how to be more aware and less diverted by their thoughts and feelings by practicing mindfulness. If you’re looking for a therapist for maladaptive daydreaming, start by looking through a free internet therapist directory.


It may be possible to understand the fundamental reason of maladaptive daydreaming with the help of psychotherapy/counselling and work toward finding other, healthier coping mechanisms. 

Working to enrich people’s daily lives and routines by adding more meaningful activities and interactions might also help them learn to meet their emotional needs in the real world rather than in an imaginative world of daydreams.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Is There A Test for Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder?

Can maladaptive daydreaming cause other conditions to develop?

Maladaptive dreaming does not appear to cause another condition, but it does have an impact on your general quality of life.

It may have an impact on your:

  • Ability to work and study productively
  • A focus on real-world relationships
  • Concern about managing daydreams has harmed my mental health.

Along with maladaptive daydreaming, people have also reported the following conditions:

  • depression
  • Anxiety problems
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a type of anxiety illness that (PTSD)
  • OCD
  • ADHD
  • bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects people in
  • Personality problem on the edge
  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
  • psychosis

What’s the Difference Between Daydreaming and Maladaptive Daydreaming?

Daydreaming is a natural aspect of life. They’re usually nice, however they can be irritating at times. While they can divert our attention away from the work at hand, they also provide various advantages, such as the ability to anticipate future events, relieve boredom, find meaning in our lives, and increase creativity.

Maladaptive daydreams can be enjoyable as well, although they are more likely to contain themes of violence, power, domination, sex, captivity, or rescue and escape scenarios. Maladaptive daydreams, unlike regular daydreams, frequently approach the world of fantasy.

Finally, normal daydreaming is an immersive experience accompanied by repetitive movements, facial expressions, or verbalizations, whereas maladaptive daydreaming is an immersive experience accompanied by repetitive movements, facial expressions, or verbalizations.

Is maladaptive daydreaming a symptom of ADHD?

Experts have discovered a relationship between ADHD and maladaptive daydreaming. In a 2017 study, 39 persons with maladaptive daydreaming were examined. Almost 77 percent of the subjects exhibited both ADHD and maladaptive daydreaming.

In 2020, some experts emphasized the need of focusing on how ADHD affects a person’s internal life rather than perceiving it as only a behavioral issue.

Maladaptive daydreaming is one component of this internal presentation that might affect your productivity and motivation at school and at work. The researchers point out that this is especially true for women.

Disturbances in sleep are also prevalent.

Is maladaptive daydreaming psychosis?

The fact that the individual is aware that their daydreams are not real and they can distinguish maladaptive daydreaming from insanity. Because the condition is not recognised by the medical community, it is addressed as a neurological biochemical imbalance rather than an addiction symptom resulting from a void in the individual’s life.

Is maladaptive daydreaming healthy?

Maladaptive daydreaming can cause anxiety, substitute human interaction, and interfere with basic functions such as social life and job. It is not a clinically accepted diagnosis, and it is not listed in any major psychiatric or medical diagnostic manual but it can be a sign of 

What does daydreaming do to the brain?

Daydreaming improves your creativity and problem-solving skills while also helping you concentrate and focus on a certain activity. It permits your mind to roam to places and think about things it wouldn’t have thought of otherwise if you hadn’t set aside time for daydreaming.


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