Maladaptive daydreaming: Towards a nosological definition

Adriano Schimmenti, Eli Somer, Meta Regis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is an excessive and vivid fantasy activity that interferes with individual's normal functioning and can result in severe distress. Research has shown that MD is a clinical condition associated with a number of personal, interpersonal and behavioral problems. Therefore, a need exists to differentiate MD from other mental activities that involve an excessive or otherwise problematic use of fantasy. These include, among others, daydreaming, mind wandering, dissociative absorption, fantasy proneness, sluggish cognitive tempo, lucid dreaming, and autistic fantasy. In this article, we examine the commonalities and differences between MD and these mental activities, to promote a better understanding of the MD phenomena and their specificity, and to foster the quality of its assessment in clinical settings. A clinical case study is employed to elucidate our analysis and to demonstrate the differential diagnosis of MD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalAnnales Medico-Psychologiques
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Masson SAS


  • Consciousness
  • Daydreaming
  • Fantasy
  • Maladaptive daydreaming
  • Mind wandering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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