What is it?

Although it is still not yet included in the DSM, maladaptive daydreaming, also known as excessive daydreaming, is a psychiatric condition that was identified by Professor Eliezer Somer of the University of Haifa in Israel in 2002. It is suggested that in those who suffer from it there is extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Excessive daydreaming

Signs & symptoms

The common symptoms of maladaptive daydreaming include:
exceptionally vibrant daydreams with story-like features, daydreams triggered by real-life events, difficulty completing daily assignments, sleeping problems, performing repetitive movements, facial expressions or speaking while daydreaming. daydreaming for prolonged periods (from many minutes to hours)


The disorder is not mentioned in the DSM and therefore there are no clear diagnosis criteria. Somer has developed a scale that rates the five key characteristics of maladaptive daydreaming called the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MSD).
These characteristics include: the content and quality (detail) of dream, a person’s ability to control their dreams and compulsion to dream, the amount of distress caused by daydreaming, a person’s perceived benefits of daydreaming and how much daydreaming interferes with a person’s ability to carry out their daily activities. People also rate how often they experience maladaptive daydreaming symptoms. This tool is still being researched.


There is not a clear protocol for treatment. Psychotherapy like CBT might be helpful and a research showed some benefits to treatment with Fluvoxamine, an antidepressant of the SSRI class.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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