ARCHIVE - Maladaptive daydreaming: a new psychological disorder?


Our research also addresses a new psychological disorder, which we have identified in a series of recently published studies – maladaptive daydreaming (MD). Apparently, there are individuals who have the gift of being able to create very rich and detailed fantasy worlds in their heads, yet for some of them, this ability turns into a serious problem. In collaboration with Jayne Bigelsen and Jonathan Lehrfeld (Fordham University, New York) and Prof. Eli Somer (University of Haifa), we found that people suffering from maladaptive daydreaming spend an average of 60% of their waking time in an imaginary world which they themselves have created. They get lost in this imaginary world, which develops into an addiction, and 97% of them feel restricted in their everyday life. Although not recognized as a condition of clinical relevance as of now, several thousand individuals document their daily struggle of not being able to limit their daydreaming activities on webpages and internet forums and do not get help by health professionals. On the basis of a set of papers using qualitative and quantitative approaches, our team has accumulated substantial information about the condition. After having developed a short questionnaire assessing MD, the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale, our ongoing research includes the development and validation of a French and a German version of the MDS as well as the more in-depth investigation of this under-acknowledged and under-researched condition (in collaboration with Profs. Christine Mohr and Rémy Amouroux, University of Lausanne).