Hi all, it's Cynthia Schupak.  

When my co-author, Jayne Bigelsen, and I wrote our recently  published paper on the results of our 90-participant study, the most difficult part was defining the activity that actually constitutes the condition we've come to know as maladaptive daydreaming.  Our reviewers and editors insisted we read and comment on hundreds of pages of scholarly articles documenting how common mind-wandering, daydreaming, and other non-specific types of "off-task" thought occur in average people.  We found that the best definition fitting the mental activity shared by this community is not best alligned with daydreaming, which is simply too broadly used in the cognitive literature.  We also found that it is often the difficulty in limiting fantasizing time that is of concern to many with MD; thus we referred to literature on other types of compulsive disorders (eating, gambling, shopping, etc.) that are recognized diagnostically, though not by DSM... and we titled our paper "Compulsive Fantasy".  Below is a quote from our paper that illustrates how we arrived at this:

…what was most useful for understanding the mental activity of the present study population were Klinger’s observations that although most people have an intuitive understanding of the meaning of the terms 'daydreaming' and 'fantasy’,

‘‘from a scientific standpoint, these topics of daydreaming and fantasy are considerably more complex. Daydreaming appears to be an essential component of people’s equipment for functioning. Yet, both daydreaming and fantasizing are poorly defined concepts, and they are by no means the same thing’’ (p. 225).

 In 1971, Klinger stated that: ‘‘Most investigators would agree that a fictional tale created by a subject for his own pleasure and for no other purpose constitutes an instance of fantasy’’(p. 6).

 Butler (2006) offered a strikingly similar and useful definition differentiating between daydreaming and fantasy:

The typical daydream begins spontaneously and is experienced as an ongoing series of brief associated thoughts or images triggered by internal or external stimuli or cues and deals most often with current life concerns. In contrast the development of fantasy may be an elected pastime. It is more elaborate and continuous, composed of more pure imagination and directed at self amusement, pleasure, distraction and escape (p. 48).

We recognize that MD is an established label and noted this in our paper, citing the very large online community (you guys) who identify this way...I'm posting this in response to a thread I came upon onsite recently -- and ultimately lost.  Hope this is meaningful to someone here -- and my best to you all.

 

 

 

 

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I was interested to see in your study that most people remember DD'ing from very early on.  That was certainly my experience - even though I assumed most people did - but my mother says that from infancy on I was able to entertain myself for hours on end, unlike my sister who needed constant attention.  This was always said as a positive thing,  as it made me an "easy baby."  I can imagine that this early onset would make stopping all that more difficult as all those reward systems become really etched in stone.  Drugs & alcohol start much later.  Maybe there is more of a similarity to food addictions.  I, personally, can not imagine stopping, even as I've gotten much older.  In fact, my DD'ing has not diminished in quantity or intensity as I've aged, but I think I see it in a slightly different light.  It's always been such an integral part of my life, intertwined with my "real life," that it is sometimes hard to see it as an entity in itself.

I wish that we had more information on possible remedies.  As we noted in our paper, therapists and other clinicians are unaware that this condition even exists.   My standard advice is to bring copies of our two papers -- the case history on "Excessive Daydreaming" that we published in 2009 (Schupak & Rosenthal) and our recently published study results (Compulsive Fantasy, Bigelsen & Schupak) -- to any doctors or psychologists you visit; as well as copies of the discussions on this site.  This is the best we've got in order to attempt to bring this syndrome to the attention of the clinical community.  Both published papers are available for free on the Scribd. web site and describe MD and its most prominent symptoms.

 In contrast the development of fantasy may be an elected pastime. It is more elaborate and continuous, composed of more pure imagination and directed at self amusement, pleasure, distraction and escape (p. 48).

Please no syndrome is always associated with early trauma.  I'm a fantasizer.  Put that in the hands of a DID fanatic therapist  and pretty soon we are both looking for repressed memories and other bs. 

I'd like to throw in my thanks to you, Jayne Bigelsen, Eli Sommer, and Cordelia.

About the topic: I'm not hearing anyone say they're married to the term "maladaptive daydreaming." I personally prefer "compulsive fantasy." It's not just that "fantasy" fits better than "daydream." It's also that the word "compulsive" is familiar and easily understood. "Maladaptive" works well in Dr. Sommer's professional article, but it's a bit fancy for the Internet.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Is it true that "MD is an established label" so people want to hang on to it? Does anyone think "maladaptive daydreaming" works better than "compulsive fantasy"?

I believe the two terms apply to two different types of behavior.

Lumping the two together under the same umbrella just for convenience doesn't help folks and adds more confusion and misunderstanding. 

If you read a few post here, you will notice that what people consider MD is very different for many people. For some folks (I'm not saying all), it is very likely that their behavior is a result of early trauma. For those people, it would be negligent to ignore that aspect of their psyche when treating them. 

The same is true when addressing the two different behaviors.

There are a lot of people who claim antidepressants have cured their MD. Different SSRIs have been credited with curing what people have self diagnosed as MD. There is one guy, who post regularly on this forum, who claims a drug developed to treat schizophrenia cured him and he encourages others to seek out the medication.   

Many of us on this forum understand firsthand how difficult it is to be understood and get beneficial treatment, even for conditions that are recognized by DSM. Being misdiagnosed and fervently following a treatment regime that will not help often leads to more frustration and feelings of hopelessness. 

Compulsive fantasizing certainly fits me better.  Cynthia's distinction between daydreaming & fantasizing was very compelling for me.  Most people on here are fantasizers - stories that go on & on, as opposed to daydreamers who ruminate about the day, etc.  And it is certainly compulsive in as much as it is addictive, even though one can modify it in terms of times, content, intensity to a greater or lesser extent.  There is certainly a maladaptive element to it also; I have less trouble with that part of the term.  But I felt daydreaming did not really describe what most of us do. What do you think about those 2 words, Roger?  DD'ing & f'antasizing?  Bearing in mind Cynthia's distinction.

I definitely do think that compulsive fantasizing is a better term than maladaptive daydreaming. i would also like to thank Dr. Cynthia and Dr. Jayne for the work that they are doing. it would be great to have this be a more recognized problem. maybe then I could actually tell some people and get it off of my chest. right now i think hiding it from everyone is as bad as actually having it. i feel like if anyone found out they would think i was totally insane. it does help though to have somewhere like this site to go and do identify with other people who are going through the same thing i am going through. everyone is so supportive here and its great.

To answer your question, Roxanne.:  "What do you think about those 2 words, Roger? DD'ing & fantasizing?

I believe the two terms apply to two different types of behavior.

Lumping the two together under the same umbrella just for convenience doesn't help folks and adds more confusion and misunderstanding.

I agree with the quote cited:

Butler (2006)

The typical daydream begins spontaneously and is experienced as an ongoing series of brief associated thoughts or images triggered by internal or external stimuli or cues and deals most often with current life concerns. In contrast the development of fantasy may be an elected pastime. It is more elaborate and continuous, composed of more pure imagination and directed at self amusement, pleasure, distraction and escape (p. 48).

Correct me if I'm wrong. 

The behavior that you, Dr Cynthia  and others are advocating should be recognized by the DSM, is most accurately referred to as Compulsive Fantasizing?

You would also agree that Compulsive Fantasizing is different than the following definition?

"daydream begins spontaneously and is experienced as an ongoing series of brief associated thoughts or images triggered by internal or external stimuli or cues and deals most often with current life concerns."

I view Compulsive Fantasizing and Maladaptive Daydreaming as two different behaviors. Eli Sommer used the term Maladaptive Daydreaming and then went on to describe the condition in his study as fantasizing. My understanding is that you, Dr Cynthia, myself and pretty much everyone else agrees that the term Compulsive Fantasizing is a more accurate term for the condition that was originally studied. Is that correct?

I'm not trying to get another condition recognized nor am I trying to be argumentative. I am just agreeing with the statement, "both daydreaming and fantasizing are poorly defined concepts, and they are by no means the same thing."

 


I totally agree.  What we are doing, for the most part, is compulsive fantasizing.  I would be in agreement to changing the term now before it is officially recognized.  It's too late afterward.   

I'm more used to saying MD, but 'Compulsive Fantasy' fits better, in my opinion, and if this gets put into the DSM, it should be officially called Compulsive Fantasy, and if the DSM also lists some other names or common names for it then Maladaptive Daydreaming should be written there as well.

Also, should we be capitalizing Compulsive Fantasy and Maladaptive Daydreaming if we type the full word, or not?

Nomad said:

I'd like to throw in my thanks to you, Jayne Bigelsen, Eli Sommer, and Cordelia.

About the topic: I'm not hearing anyone say they're married to the term "maladaptive daydreaming." I personally prefer "compulsive fantasy." It's not just that "fantasy" fits better than "daydream." It's also that the word "compulsive" is familiar and easily understood. "Maladaptive" works well in Dr. Sommer's professional article, but it's a bit fancy for the Internet.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Is it true that "MD is an established label" so people want to hang on to it? Does anyone think "maladaptive daydreaming" works better than "compulsive fantasy"?

Thank you do much for the work MrsCynthia, for what you and Mrs.Jayne have done. I really hints entry thank you.
I agree with a lot that elude says. This isnt yet fully defined as a mental disorder and I have also found many people are self labelling themselves as having a mental illness and a very rare one. But this 'different' and relatively new concept way of thinking may in fact be completely normal and just a alternative way of thinking and adapting to life and could be actually a good thing for society to have imaginative thinkers.

I think that md comes a problem when its something you long for more than life itself or when you shut itself away for most your life to dd but that can happen with playing games and reading.

I like the word compulsive fantasising too.

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