psychology treating adults maladaptive daydreaming

Researchers: Maladaptive Daydreaming Should Be a Diagnosis Distinct from ADHD

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April 15, 2022Some individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience maladaptive daydreaming (MD), however, the two conditions are distinct and different, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that shows “that most adults with MD will meet the criteria for ADHD but that their attention deficit is secondary to their core problem of becoming addicted to their immersive, fanciful daydreaming.” 1 The researchers suggested that MD may be a more appropriate diagnosis for some individuals than is ADHD, though the former is not yet a formal psychiatric diagnosis.People who present with MD deliberately slip into highly detailed and realistic daydreams that can last hours and interfere with their ability to function in the real world.

ADHD, particularly the inattentive subtype, may cause an individual to lose focus and daydream but this behavior is neurological, not intentional.

Making this distinction could improve the diagnostic process and treatment results, the researchers suggest.Previous studies have found high rates of ADHD among people presenting with MD.

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