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June 24, 2024 21 mins

When does daydreaming become a problem, and does it impact women more? We break down maladaptive daydreaming.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is and Samantha and whatcome to stuff? I
never told you a prediction of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:18):
And y'all were back on our again, meaning yes, we're
talking more trauma related reactions or diagnosis, and this time
we're coming back coming with maladaptive daydreaming or m D
as they are like giving those initials for it, and
yes this is I don't know, I guess I'll have

a whole We should do a small playlist of all
of like the mental health and trauma things that I
have brought in or we have brought in from Like
oh yeah, that sounds like me. Oh why yeah, I
gotta call me out like that social media because we
talk a lot about different types of diagnosis or disorders

or even just like responses trauma responses to different things
that may not triggered us or things that we did
not realize could be a learned behavior. And I think
it's fascinating. Again, this comes back from my background in
social work and doing a lot of this type of work,
because you know, mental health and social work go hand
in hand. Especially we know a lot of lcsw's are

now counselors. But with all of that, yes, this is
what I love to do, and this is something that
I thought was fascinating because I don't think this is
necessarily me but I have seen this reaction, and surprisingly,
I will say, I have not seen too much saying
this is related specifically more to women. Although when I

was looking at the amount of diagnosis for women, what
are women most likely diagnosed with and who has the
higher diagnoses for different types of disorders? Women do hit
anxiety and depression obviously in PTSD at a higher mark men,
according to much of the research that I've seen, as
in fact, there's been an overwhelming like in the last year.

And I do want to come back to this because
I think it's fascinating a call and high alert to
let people know and let professionals know, Hey, women are
being diagnosed alarmingly, like, way higher than they have been
in years for things like depression, anxiety and PTSD and
all of that, and we need to look at why.

I have a feeling it may have something to do
with our social structure. I do as well, but I'm
gonna leave it at that. But like, hey, we got
one victory, but the Supreme Court did straight down the
ban for MiFi pristone and holy yay. I was actually
shot that it was unanimous.

Speaker 1 (02:46):
Yeah, I too.

Speaker 2 (02:48):
I hope they understood. The questioning was pretty intense, and
I think they knew what they were looking at, being
like side eye, what are you doing? Because even though yes,
it is a part of abortion pill, it's also been
around for other things. You've talked about this completely. We've
talked about this in our book and why it's important

and it's absurd because they want to be jerks, that's
how I put it. But with all of that, I'm
wondering if some of these diagnoses that have happened as
of recently, or maybe just that more women are realizing
that they do need help and they're tired of being
gas lit by so many people saying that you're just sad,
suck it up, and so actually going to seek help.

So there's so many things that so many of us
have decided, Ay, we actually do care about our health
and there is something wrong, So let's talk about this,
and whether it's like counseling or actual like medication, or
it's for sometimes you just need prescription for time off,
like an actual mental health day that we've been promised
for so many years as oftentimes ridiculed. But anyway, so

with that, I do want to come and talk about that.
But today we are talking about maladaptive daydreaming again MD,
and according to Sleep Foundation dot org, it is quote
sometimes known as a daydreaming disorder. Maladaptive daydreaming describes a
condition where a person regularly experiences daydreams that are intense
and highly distracting, so distracting in fact, that the person

may stop engaging with the task or people in front
of them. These daydreams may be triggered by real life
events or stimuli such as noise, smell, conversation, topic, or movie.
So this is very descriptive about what it is, and
we're going to get a little more into it. We're
not talking about day dreaming. I do have that question
because I know we've all done this. We've all done

this while we were driving, having our own thought process
and then realizing, holy crap, how did I end up here?
How did I make it home? Because I don't remember
the last ten minutes of my driving. Like I know,
we've all done that. There is a difference between daydreaming
and just being distracted versus maladaptive daydreaming, and we want
to make sure that we're going to understand that a
little better. In our short segment on Monday, minis yes again.

I do want to say that I did not find
too much information about it being gendered other than that
the original research for this diagnosis and for this term
when they ask for volunteers, and I believe it was
mainly through social media that they were trying to get
contacts from people to test them and to kind of
have that random subject. A lot of it turned out
to be women who came back with actual examples, so

they were kind of like, is it because of how
we researched it, or is it because women are more
likely to suffer from my adaptive daydreaming. They also talk
about marginalized individuals such as the trans community as well,
talking about whether it is actually because they are more
aware and they're more willing to be a part of
this project, or is it because of the actual trauma
that they have gone through that this is that defense mechanism.

So there seems to be a lot of questions. I know,
there's a lot of testing, and honestly, in the last
two years it really got a big bang in big
poll thanks to social media. So more and more people
are talking about it, and I think more and more
people are actually researching it. So with that, according to
the National Library of Medicine for the National Center of
Biotechnology of Information, they say, maladaptive daydreaming MD is a

proposed mental disorder characterized by excessive compulsive immersion in vivid
and complex, fantastical daydream plots, generating intense emotional involvement, often
accompanied by stereotypical movements. This addictive absorption in daydreaming becomes
maladaptive as it consumes many hours a day, generate shame

or guilt, hinders achievement of short and long term goals
or tasks, and overall causes clinically significant distress and or
interferes with functioning in society or occupational realms. So I
definitely have friends who were a part of who would
disappear in their bedroom for hours at a time, and

I'd ask what they're doing, and literally they're just sitting
in there, and they don't tell me that they're daydreaming.
But I'm wondering, perhaps that's what was happening, because weren't
necessarily reading, They weren't necessarily you know, like they were
just in there I have been caught embarrassing moment for
me where I am like spewing conversations to myself in
a bedroom like by myself for like thirty minutes to

an hour of time, and I been asked, who are
you talking to? Have you ever had those moments there?

Speaker 1 (07:19):
No, it's me. So this is interesting because again, a
lot of times when we like split up the research,
I don't know what Samantha the topic will be that

Samantha's bringing And I have said before and it is
still true. One of my very favorite things to do
is in that moment when you wake up and it's
too early to get up, is I daydream. But it's
never been like I'm in front of a person like
it doesn't feel it feels.

Speaker 2 (08:02):
More like you set a time, set a time for it.

Speaker 1 (08:05):
Yeah, Like I'm in bed and I'm not going to
get up, so I'm just going to daydream. So I'm
interested to see if at the end of this, I'm
gonna be like, oh no, I've got an issue.

Speaker 2 (08:12):
But it's never been like.

Speaker 1 (08:16):
I'm talking to a person or I feel like it's
impacting my job or something like that.

Speaker 2 (08:21):
Right, And that's part of the conversation, so it continues.
Maladaptive daydreamers md ers report a strong urge to daydream
whenever they can, an annoyance whenever they cannot, and repeated
unsuccessful efforts to control, cutback, or stop daydreaming. Like other
behavioral addictions, negative emotions follow their daily daydreaming activity. However,

mental health practitioners are often disparaging of the problem, resulting
in suboptimal treatment and heightened loneliness and distress. And yeah,
in just in case you're wondering if this applies to you,
they compare the norm versus MD, they say. Importantly, different
types of mental states in which one does not focus
on the present may be associated with psychological difficulties such

as rumination, worry, thinking about the past or future, or
mind wondering. However, MD is essentially different than normal daydreaming
and mind wandering, defined quite broadly as internally generated or
off task thought. Widespread daydreaming or mind wandering is often
a spontaneous divergence from a present task in favor of
past or future recollections, such as activating a memory or

thinking about ones to do lists for the rest of
the day. Self report mind wandering items span inattention and
concentration difficulties, a scattered line of thought making mistakes due
to automatic behavior and obliviousness to surroundings. On the contrary,
MD is characterized by inventing rich, fantastical plots and stories
with a dynamic emotional range that are often unrealistic and

distant from the day dreamer's actual life. Moreover, they are
usually continuously evolving over long periods of time, like a
soap opera, which is very different than the somewhat random,
fickle contents of common mind wondering NMD. Individuals feel compelled
to continue their fantasy like many people would feel about
watching their favorite show on TV, and many report that

they initiate the MD episode with awareness and intent.

Speaker 1 (10:13):
I did do that, and I have talked about that
on a previous podcast. When I was in middle school,
I had a dream and I could like initiate it
and it was ongoing, and I would treat it like
a TV show, like I didn't know what was going
to happen. I but it still was like when I
was sleeping, right, it was still like a not happening

during the day. Yeah, that did ring pretty true.

Speaker 2 (10:39):
How many us There's a bit more information from wondermind
dot com. Daydreaming actually exists on a spectrum. On one end,
you have the mind wandering type of daydreaming, which is brief, typical,
mundane and subject matter and doesn't impair functioning in any way,
says Ali Sommer, a PhD, a clinical psychologist and maladaptive
daydreaming researcher specializing in trauma and disassociative disorders. On the

opposite end of the spectrum, you have maladaptive daydreaming, a
term coined by doctor Summer himself in a two thousand
and two qualitative study of six patients in his practice,
where he describes it as quote extensive fantasy activity that
replaces human interaction and or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or
vocational functioning. In fact, there will be a clear immersive

visual sounds and emotional elements, so that they are way
more intense than the run of the mill day dreams
and typically include elaborate storylines that continue over time. He adds,
so basically, it's when you daydream so vividly and frequently
that it negatively impacts your life. So you have I
don't think you would be maledaptive daydreaming, but you are

intensely daydreaming because you don't allow it to actually take
over your daily life, like you're not annoyed that you
have to do something instead of being able to daydream. However,
you are very intensely So I'm assuming with everything else
and diagnosis, it would be a spectrum if it so again.
And I wanted to put this out because I the
research I'm looking into, I can't tell if it's actually

been proposed to put into the d S and five
as an actual disorder, and I think that's where it is.
Social workers, psychologists, researchers out there. Let me know if
I'm all off on this, but I think they have
proposed it but has not especially been submitted and or
admitted into the DSM five. But people do recognize it

in the community, so they may not say it's a disorder,
they might not actually say that out loud, but they
have seen it and they know that it exists. And
then there are those who do feel very strongly that
it should be added to the d S and five
because it can be an impairment, and they've even talked
about how it could be a comorbidity to other diagnosis.
But before we jump into that, here's some actual symptoms.

According to healthline dot com, a person with maladaptive daydreaming
make experience one or more of the following extremely vivid
daydreams with their own characters, settings, plots, and other detailed
storyline features, reflecting a complex inner world daydreams triggered by
real life events. Difficulty completing everyday tasks, difficulty sleeping at night,
an overwhelming desire to continue daydreaming, performing repetitive movements, wild daydreaming,

making facial expressions, wild daydreaming, whispering and talking wild daydreaming,
daydreaming for lengthy periods up to several hours. Significant distress
about daydreaming, awareness that the internal fantasy world is different
from the external reality. And I feel like the awareness
part should be a good thing. Should yeah.

Speaker 1 (13:39):
I feel again, as someone who is connecting to a
lot of this pretty hard, I feel like the difference
would be would be, Hey, this is my daydream, this
is reality.

Speaker 2 (13:52):
I can't daydream all the time.

Speaker 1 (13:54):
I will tell you, like, sometimes when I'm working, I'll
get like the poll, but I don't do it. Are Like,
I don't doesn't stop by. It's more of like Oh,
I wish I could do that right now, but I can't.
So it sounds like more of the compulsion or the
control of it, right, So I do think like recognizing

the difference is a good thing. It sounds like a
really good thing.

Speaker 2 (14:19):
It's also part of the diagnosis, apparently, and there are
likelihoods that maladaptive daydreaming is a comorbidity to other diagnoses,
including ADHD, OCD, borderline personality disorder PTSD, and many more.

And here's a quote from that Helpline article talking about ADHD.
MD Experts have found the links between maladaptive daydreaming and ADHD.
A twenty seventeen study looked at thirty nine people with
maladaptive daydreaming. Almost seventy seven percent of the participants had
both maladaptive daydreaming and ADHD. So I've never really think
I don't necessarily think I have ADHD. I think I'm

very easily distracted though, so like and I'm also maybe
I do. Maybe I'm in denial because I'm like, I
don't have all the other factors except for when it
comes to actually working, and I'll do everything but work,
and that includes daydreaming. I will say that like about
possibilities of our podcast or our episodes, whether it's me

thinking about it or more than me talking through it
as if like this is going to be amazing, or
interviewing talking about it. I feel like I'm calling myself
out a lot in this episode anyway. And then from
the Guardian article written in twenty twenty two, they write, intriguingly,
maladaptive daydreaming seems to be far more common among people

who have been diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder,
with a recent paper reporting a prevalence of about twenty percent.
Moreover seventy seven percent of people with maladaptive daydreaming have
been diagnosed with ADHD. The constant desire to slip into
day dreams. It seems it's contributing to difficulties and concentration
and focus, and this group may require differing different forms

of treatment from other people with ADHD, so they're saying
that they need to approach it differently, which again maybe
why they want this diagnosis so much, or a disorder
placed in the DS and five because they'll be able
to have a conversation about what that treatment looks like.
And from several of the articles, including research articles. They
talk about using OCD type of treatments for maladaptive daydreaming

and whether or not it's been successful. I think it's
a little early to tell. They also have an actual
questionnaire for you to find your own spectrum. So this
is with Sohmer and his researching team. It says in
the actual scale, the sixteen item maladaptive Dreaming scale in

DS sixteen, that's what it's called. In answering the following questions,
please refer to your daydream activities in the last month,
if not otherwise specified, choose the option that best fits you.
So they give you that zero to one hundred percent
zero being never to one hundred percent being extremely frequent
with sixteen questions, and based on that they give you

this diagnosis. I'm not really sure how verified. I mean,
I don't know if that's just like how they tested
for themselves for their research because this was from the
original research team versus like, yes, this is effective. So
like one of the questions is, some people notice that
certain music can trigger their daydreaming. To what extent does

music activate your daydreaming? So you would have that scale.
Another question is if you go through a period of
time when you're not able to daydream as much as
usual due to real world obligations. How distressed are you
by your inability to find time to daydream? So they're
talking about the level, like what does it cause you
some people experience difficulties in controlling or limiting their daydream

How difficult has it been for you to keep your
daydreaming under control? So, like they have all this questions
on here. Oh, it says how often are your current
daydreams accompanied by physical activity such as pacing, swinging, or
shaking your hands? And I found that interesting because they're
like this whole conversation really well, It's like one of
the videos I saw was a woman talking about she

was on her walking machine and she was in her
own mind daydreaming. But in that day dream, she ended
up being on that thing for like three hours or
something like she was it was an extensive amount of
time without her realizing, which I'm might, No, I know,
when I'm doing physical activity, I don't. I don't like it.
I wish I could zone out like that. But like
it found it interesting that people really did have those

moments with this. And again, like I said, the more
content that I'm looking at and maybe it's because one
of the FYP I'm on, the research that I'm on
it is based on a lot of examples on women
and or people who are in that type of community,
and it again may have everything to do with who
is more willing to take these tests, who are being
found through social media? Was their FYP? All these different things,

But it was a pretty fascinating conversation and again, like
what type of diagnosis this would be so new for
D S and five? Is it necessary? And it would
like explain so much for people because I know the
one thing about the shame part about like feeling guilty
for being an adult that daydreams about things when I
should be like locked into reality and following my responsibility,

that this has maybe been underdiagnosed or ignored for so
long and shamed for so long that many people don't
even want to look at it as a possible. Oh
this is maybe a mental health issue.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, I think there's a lot we could
come back and talk about with all of this. Yes,
because it is. It just makes sense to me if
you've gone through any kind of trauma or anything like that,
that you would have this thing right that you went to.

Speaker 2 (19:55):
I also want to know how many authors and fend
from writers would be dised with this.

Speaker 1 (20:00):
I'm thinking about my own thing, and I'm like, this
is where I get a lot of my good ideas,
and you're telling me it's bad.

Speaker 2 (20:08):
But it can be disruptive to some people.

Speaker 1 (20:11):
Yes, yes, yes, we should. We should come back, We
should come back. I'm always worried I'll get to the
end of one of these episodes, Samanth, and you'll be like,
and this is you.

Speaker 2 (20:22):
I mean that maybe feel like this is us.

Speaker 1 (20:24):
Yeah, that's true. Well, listeners, if you have any thoughts
about this or any resources.

Speaker 2 (20:32):
Please let us know.

Speaker 1 (20:33):
You can emails at Stuff Media, mom Stuff at iHeartMedia
dot com. You can find us on Twitter at mom
Stuff Podcast, or on Instagram and TikTok at stuff Never
Told You. We're on YouTube, we have a tea public store,
and we have a book you can get wherever you
get your books. Thanks as always to our super producer
Christina or executive producer Maya and our contribute Joey. Thank
you and thanks to you for listening. Stuff Never Told
You is production by Heart Radio. For more podcast or

my Heart Radio, you can check out the Heart radio
Apppple podcasts where you listen to your favorite shows.

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