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Maladaptive Daydreaming vs. Inattentive ADHD: Comparing Symptoms, Treatments

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maladaptive daydreaming have intentional, vivid, all-consuming daydreams that interfere with their daily functioning. Individuals with inattentive ADHD have trouble sustaining focus; they are easily distracted and forgetful.

Because symptoms of inattentive ADHD and maladaptive daydreaming overlap, some patients may receive incorrect diagnoses, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.1The study found that 21% of 83 participants with ADHD diagnoses also met the diagnostic criteria for MD. “In some cases [of people] presenting with ADHD symptoms, maladaptive daydreaming may better explain the clinical picture” than would an ADHD diagnosis, the study suggested, adding that improper diagnosis may have serious treatment implications.1People with inattentive ADHD and MD share these symptoms:Below are more key similarities — and differences — between inattentive ADHD and maladaptive daydreaming.Maladaptive Daydreaming: By engaging in purposeful, consuming daydreaming that lasts for hours on end, some individuals choose to become immersed and lost in their inner fantasy worlds.

Many maladaptive daydreamers become addicted to the alternative realities they’ve created.[Self-Test: Do I Have Adult Inattentive ADHD?]Inattentive ADHD: Mind wandering with ADHD is unintentional, scattered, and often allows for jumping from one idea or scenario to another.Maladaptive Daydreaming: Dissociation means deliberately detaching from one’s surroundings and body to avoid experiencing them.

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