The maladaptive daydreaming scale: what you should know.


Maladaptive daydreaming is a condition where a person spends excessive time daydreaming to the point where it interferes with their daily functioning. A maladaptive daydreaming scale is a tool that is used to measure the severity of the condition. In this article, we will discuss the maladaptive daydreamer scale and its use in diagnosing and treating maladaptive daydreaming.

Maladaptive daydreaming: The first research article

In 2002, Eli Somer and his colleagues published the first research article on maladaptive daydreaming (Somer et al., 2002). Since then, there has been a lot of research in this area. Somer's research demonstrated that daydreaming is associated with strong absorption and cognitive flexibility. He also showed that daydreaming is a complex phenomenon that can be divided into two types: adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive daydreaming refers to positive fantasies that are used for self-enhancement. Maladaptive daydreaming, on the other hand, refers to fantasies that are intrusive, distressing, and can interfere with a person's daily functioning.

To measure the severity of maladaptive daydreaming, Somer and his colleagues developed a scale called the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). The MDS is a 10-item scale that measures the frequency and intensity of daydreaming, as well as the negative consequences of daydreaming.

What is excessive daydreaming?

Maladaptive daydreaming is a widely ignored problem that has been recently recognized by mental health professionals.

Those who suffer from it generate vivid, fanciful imagery in their head which occupies much of their waking life. It feels to them as real as actual sensations would feel to most other people. Often, they are so immersed in this world that they find it difficult to detach from their daydreams. In some cases, their vivid daydreams have a significant emotional impact on them.

In the new DSM-V, those who suffer from this condition will be classified as suffering from "Psychic and Behavioral Obsessions." The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a book used by mental health professionals to diagnose different mental disorders.

A maladaptive daydreamer often feels helpless in their condition and wonders if other people experience something similar. Depending on the frequency of their daydreaming, it may be difficult for maladaptive daydreamers to hold down a job or maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.

Is maladaptive daydreaming a mental disorder?

There is still some debate as to whether maladaptive daydreaming should be classified as a mental disorder. Some people feel that it is simply a symptom of another problem, such as depression or anxiety. Others believe that it is a unique condition that warrants its diagnosis.

At this point, there is not enough evidence to make any conclusive statements about whether maladaptive daydreaming is a mental disorder or not. However, the debate over its classification has led to some challenging questions regarding what qualifies as a mental disorder.

How to diagnose maladaptive daydreaming?

Excessive daydreaming diagnosis: 4 criteria

To be diagnosed as having maladaptive daydreaming, a person must meet the following criteria:

1. Having very vivid fantasies which they have been thinking about for as long as they can remember, more than one hour per day.

2. Spending so much time on those fantasies that it has a significant impact on their daily life.

3. Experiencing negative consequences in their personal or professional relationships, or in other important areas of their life, due to the fact that they are spending so much time on those fantasies.

4. Experiencing significant distress because of their preoccupation with these fantasies.

It is possible for someone to be diagnosed as having maladaptive daydreaming even if they do not meet all of the above criteria. For example, if someone only meets criterion two or three, but not four, they may still be diagnosed as having maladaptive daydreaming if their daydreaming has a significant negative impact on their life.

An assessment to detect maladaptive daydreaming?

There is also a maladaptive daydreaming test which is designed to assess different areas of someone's life that maladaptive daydreaming may be having an impact on. This questionnaire was created by Dr. Eli Somer, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel. His research has been integral in bringing this condition into the spotlight and legitimizing it as a disorder.

As is the case with any psychological disorder, there exists no generally accepted treatment for it. However, most mental health professionals agree that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is generally an effective way to treat this condition. This method of treatment focuses on reworking a person's negative thought patterns and behaviors into healthier ones.

Remember that a formal diagnosis should only be made by a licensed mental health professional. If you feel that you are suffering from this condition, it is important to speak with a therapist who can help determine if you have maladaptive daydreaming and what options may be available to help treat your condition.

Wilson, S., & Croft, R. (2012). Maladaptive daydreaming: A clarification of the phenomenon and a single case study. Consciousness and Cognition, 21(2), 1236-1241.

Somer, E. (2015). Maladaptive Daydreaming: Presence, Pathology, and Treatment. Front Psychol. 6: 2000 http://journal.frontiers

Can you self-diagnose maladaptive daydreaming?

Self-diagnosis: definitely a controversial question.

Some mental health professionals would say that it is very possible for someone to self-diagnose maladaptive daydreaming as long as they have thoroughly studied this phenomenon and have been through extensive testing with a licensed professional. However, other mental health experts would argue that the only way someone can properly diagnose themselves is by receiving a formal diagnosis from a mental health professional who has spent significant time working with them.

Not enough research available

At this point, there isn't enough research available to make any absolute statements about whether or not someone can self-diagnose maladaptive daydreaming. Like many other psychological disorders, this condition exists along a spectrum and various factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding if meets the diagnostic criteria for having it. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your daydreaming or it is having a significant negative impact on your life, it is important to speak with a mental health professional. They can help you determine if you have maladaptive daydreaming and what treatment options may be available to you.

What is the maladaptive daydreaming scale MDS?

The maladaptive daydreamer scale or MDS is a questionnaire that was developed to help mental health professionals assess the severity of maladaptive daydreaming. It was created by Dr. Eli Somer, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel.

The MDS consists of 14 questions

Each question of the scale relates to different areas of life that maladaptive daydreaming may be impacting. There are four core criteria:

1. Emotional impact - how often do you daydream? Is it a habit or do you make a conscious effort to daydream during specific times of the day?

2. Behavioural impact - how long can you go without daydreaming before feeling anxious, depressed, angry, etc.?

3. Personal distress ÔÇô do your daydreams interfere with your home life or work life?

4. Social impact ÔÇô how do your daydreams affect your relationships?


The questionnaire is designed to be answered by the person who is experiencing maladaptive daydreaming.

It can be used to help mental health professionals assess the severity of the condition, and it can also be used as a self-help tool to help people become more aware of how their daydreaming is impacting their life.

The Maladaptive Daydreamer Scale is an exciting new development

It could revolutionize the understanding and treatment of maladaptive daydreaming as a disorder. The hope is to make this questionnaire available in different languages so it can reach more people with problems related to their excessive imagination, which often leads them into distress or inappropriate behavior patterns like an addiction.

The 16-item maladaptive daydreaming scale

The 16-item of them is an objective measure for measuring how much time you spend in imaginative genres. It was developed by Drs Marzillier and Malgras from their research on pathological imagination so it can identify people who indulge in this behavior far too often or not enough, depending upon your perspective!

The items range from "Generally I enjoy spending time daydreaming" at one end to ExtremelyRare ("I never do") while others lie somewhere between these extreme ends - like VeryCommon (51%), and Common(32%). Just remember: if your score falls into that last category then something might need to be change because there'd be no point in continuing with this measure if it was normal for you to spend lots of time daydreaming!

The questionnaire can help researchers and mental health professionals (and the rest of us) to understand more about what distinguishes those who experience maladaptive daydreaming from those who don't. This could help identify problems earlier and determine the most effective intervention.

The scale is made up of 16 items:

1- How much time per day do you spend daydreaming?

2- Do you make a conscious effort to daydream during specific times of the day?

3- How long can you go without daydreaming before feeling anxious, depressed, angry, etc.?

4- Do your daydreams interfere with your home life or work life?

5- Do you have vivid images in your daydreams?

6- Have you ever been told by a professional that you need to cut down on the time you spend daydreaming?

7- How often do you feel preoccupied with specific daydreams when it is not appropriate?

8- How often does a bad mood or negative emotion follow a daydreaming episode?

9- Do your daydreams make you feel like you are living in another world?

10- How much control do you have over the content of your daydreams?

11- Are there any specific themes or characters that feature prominently in your daydreams?

12- Do you feel like you are living a second life when you are daydreaming?

13- Do your daydreams cause you to withdraw from social activities?

14- Do your daydreams make it difficult for you to concentrate on tasks that need to be done?

15- How does maladaptive daydreaming affect your mood and relationships?

16- How does maladaptive daydreaming affect your sense of identity?


https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201711/maladaptive-daydreaming-its-time-addiction

How do interpret MDS results?

The MDS results can help mental health professionals to assess the severity of maladaptive daydreaming, and to decide on the best course of treatment.

For individuals who score high on the maladaptive daydreamer's scale

Their daydreaming is likely hurting their life. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, or both.

For individuals who score low on the maladaptive daydreamer's scale

Likely, their daydreaming is not causing much distress. However, it is still a good idea to be aware of how your daydreaming is impacting your life and to seek help if you notice any problems.


The maladaptive daydreamer scale can also be used as a self-help tool. Individuals who score high on the scale can use the results to help them become more aware of how their daydreaming is impacting their life and to take steps to address any problems.


The maladaptive daydreamer scale is currently being translated into different languages to make it available to a wider audience. It is hoped that this questionnaire will play a role in legitimizing maladaptive daydreaming as a disorder, and in helping people with this condition get the help they need.

The short version of the Maladaptive Daydreaming test Scale (MDS-short)

The short version of the MDS-short was adapted from the standard 16-item MDS by removing items 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 14. This abbreviated version has demonstrated very good reliability in clinical samples (╬▒ = .93-.94), but has not yet been validated for use outside of the clinical context or with nonclinical samples. The MDS-short contains 12 items; these are summed to form an overall. Scores range from 0 - 36.

The Maladaptive daydreaming questionnaire (MDQ)

The maladaptive daydreaming questionnaire (MDQ) is a 9-question test, which was created for the study "By Toledo et al., 2015" to assess the severity of MD. The questionnaire is composed of 5 questions about frequency and 4 questions about duration. Participants rate each question on a scale from 1 to 7. The MCQ has been validated for use outside of the clinical context or with nonclinical samples. Scores range from 9 to 63, higher scores indicate more severe symptoms of MD.


MDQ - https://psychology-tools.com/maladaptive-day

How is the maladaptive daydreaming scale scored?

Scoring of MDS:

A score from 0-5 indicates mild severity, 6 -10 is considered moderate and 11+ shows high levels. A copy of the MDS can be found here with instructions on how to score yourself or others' responses!

A copy of the Maladaptive Daydreamer Scale and instructions for scoring and interpreting results can be found here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201711/maladaptive-daydreaming-its-time-addiction

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