Scientists speculate that 'Maladaptive Daydreaming' might be a distinct psychiatric disorder

Scientists speculate that 'Maladaptive Daydreaming' might be a distinct psychiatric disorder ...

According to a recent study, some individuals with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, might be able to experience a diagnosis of "maladaptive daydreaming."

Daydreaming is a common phenomenon in which the mind becomes locked in an imaginary environment. For most people, it''s a fun, short distraction from the real world, but for others, daydreaming can be a lot of fun.

In the face of many misconceptions, some individuals may spend up to half their waking hours in their own internal world, which makes it difficult to participate in daily life.

Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is not currently considered a psychiatric disorder in its own right; instead, its characteristic influence on attention means it''s typically lumped in as a symptom of disordered people.

According to studies, around 77 percent of people who experience MD are diagnosed with ADHD. However, simply because these conditions overlap, does not mean they are identical. Psychologists have recently discovered evidence MD is actually its own distinct condition.

ADHD is characterized by a "disregulated attention system," which may result in hyperfocus and seeming inattention. Maladaptive daydreaming, on the other hand, is somewhat similar to a behavioral addiction, retracing the mind to complex and vivid levels of imagination.

Researchers found that just over 20 percent of people with ADHD also fulfilled MD criteria, compared to the percentage of people with MD who also fulfilled ADHD criteria.

This suggests that the two disorders are really different from one another.

"If we had found symmetrically high MD rates among ADHD adults, we''d have argued that the newer notion of MD is superfluous, as it''s almost equivalent to ADHD''s already-existing diagnosis."

"The asymmetry found in this study coincides with our theoretical assumption that MD is an independent mental phenomenon, which often causes a attention deficit as a side-effect."

Further research is necessary to support the idea of MD as a distinct psychiatric disorder, but research from this small study suggests that MD is essentially different from the typical ADHD.

Participants who met the criteria for maladaptive daydreaming said they had difficulty giving their full attention to a task until the completion, but not in the same manner as ADHD markers.

Participants claimed that they self-directed their own daydreams, absorbing themselves in frightening and frightening situations that made it difficult to concentrate on external tasks.

Their compulsion for daydreaming seemed to be secondary to loss of attention.

"We argue that the ADHD diagnosis does not adequately describe the problem in such situations," according to the authors.

The possibility is further bolstered by the fact that participants who met both MD and ADHD criteria reported significant improvements in psychological distress than those who did not meet them.

According to the authors, excessive daydreaming might be based on a desire to reclaim depressing thoughts, low self-esteem, or loneliness.

Because if MD and ADHD have different underlying mechanisms, it''s likely they might not respond to the same interventions, this is critical.

"If your ADHD is due to constant mind-wandering and learning disabilities," says psychologist Nirit Soffer-Dudek of PsyPost.

"If it is the latter, we suggest requesting psychological help and introduce to the clinician the concept of MD, which has been extensively studied in the past years, but remains quite unknown."

Without a proper understanding of MD, it''s no longer clear how many individuals might be diagnosed with the condition.

MD appears to have become a bigger issue a long time ago, adding importance to the notion that daydreaming is our brain''s way of dealing with trauma, rather than purging in wandering thoughts.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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