ADHD Daydreaming: Do You Often Experience this ADHD Trait?
According to the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) 📕, children with an ADHD diagnosis have at least six ADHD symptoms (five for adults) under a category. The symptoms must be recurring before the age of twelve and affect two settings at a minimum. Someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be classified into one of three categories 3️⃣, Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Type, Inattentive ADHD Type, or a combination of both.
Nowhere in the DSM criteria states that daydreaming 💭is an official ADHD symptom that can make people struggle with their everyday life. For this reason, some mental health professionals may only consider daydreaming part of our human experience and not something that should be of concern.
Despite the lack of official connection, ADHD & daydreaming are often linked to each other still, because those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tend to do mind wandering a lot 💫. This might cause inattention and mental hyperactivity, which are the existing diagnostic labels for this neurodivergent disorder. So, how do we distinguish normal daydreaming from ADHD daydreaming? 🤔
Excessive Daydreaming for Some People with ADHD
According to this article, normal daydreaming can be defined as the reverie you experience while you're awake. 👀It happens when we drift from our real life and get diversions from our thoughts (A.K.A. dreams). They even state that daydreaming may have a positive effect on our brains; from releasing stress and anxiety from previous trauma, exercising our brain's ability to be creative 🌈, or even helping us reach our goals or solve problems in real-life situations.
People with ADHD may experience the same case and effects as neurotypicals who daydream do. However, there might be consequences as an ADHD person daydreams too much in real-life events 😞.
A person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often experiences having an overly active brain 🧠 which may produce daydreams that can consume your thoughts and feelings, leading you to constant distraction from the task or activity at hand. Aside from that, excessive daydreaming may prevent us from staying focused, making us commit frequent mistakes ❌that may affect our self-esteem.
In other words, excessive ADHD daydreaming may affect our day-to-day life, since we may have trouble focusing and get easily distracted. Likewise, we may start zoning out of conversations, or even avoid our responsibilities because we have our internal world to attend to.
And when these daydreaming instances make us drift farther away from our reality, becoming our coping mechanism against the struggles that we face in our real lives, it can be a sign of something else that requires professional help 🧑⚕️.
Maladaptive Daydreaming: Going Beyond the Imaginable
They say too much of anything is wrong and can cause more harm than good. The same is true with daydreaming. Having a maladaptive daydreaming behavior can affect our concept of reality and may force us to think that everything we daydream of is already true and achievable 😨. Please keep in mind that daydreaming, even ADHD daydreaming, is an independent mental phenomenon with clear boundaries between what is true and what isn't. Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) is different. When a person experiences maladaptive daydreaming, it means that they daydream excessively and intensely; sometimes hours at a time! It is also used to cope with a problem 😭.
Furthermore, maladaptive daydreamers may often confuse reality with their dreams or fantasies. Some people experiencing maladaptive daydreaming get to "travel" from their stressful environment to where they can escape, allowing them to feel better and more secure. This may sound nice and helpful for a person going through a lot, but the behavioral addiction that comes with maladaptive daydreaming may cause more harm than good 😢.
Findings suggest that Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder may cause a person to have impaired functioning in their daily activities, leading to low productivity and a lack of motivation. Other reports may also include problems such as social isolation, intrusive daydreaming episodes, or even feelings of guilt.
ADHD and Maladaptive Daydreaming are not readily connected with each other. Reports indicate that some people with ADHD may be more vulnerable to maladaptive daydreaming, but the thing is, maladaptive daydreaming is NOT an official mental health condition. It is also NOT listed as a symptom of ADHD. 👌
Are you interested to learn more about ADHD and Maladaptive Daydreaming? Follow this article to know more.
Take our fun online quiz to visualize your ADHD traits and learn more about your brain!TAKE THE FREE TEST
Spontaneous Imagination and ADHD Daydreaming
Some people with ADHD who often daydream may find it hard to control their thoughts or "spontaneous imagination." While daydreaming can be seen as a helpful tool developed against stress and anxiety, uncontrolled ADHD daydreaming can hinder our focus on essential things. Many people might have difficulties controlling their urge to daydream, which may happen when they are in class or at work 🧑💼.
Those with ADHD who often daydream might have difficulty attending to the task at hand or maintaining focus on essential tasks that need their attention. Aside from that, they may find it hard to read social cues and non-verbal language, leading them to misinterpret conversations or feelings of others because of their inattention.
ADHD Daydreaming may be a way to cope with their environment, but it's essential to ensure that it does not become an obsession or hindrance from learning and doing other essential tasks 👍.
ADHD daydreaming is an independent mental issue that can be seen as a productive tool for stress relief and creative thinking. However, maladaptive daydreaming causes more harm than good. It is essential to ensure that our daydreams do not interfere with our daily activities, so it is best to maintain a healthy balance between living in reality and visiting the world of imagination. 🙆
When excessive daydreaming starts to affect how we treat other people or handle these tasks, it is best to approach a mental health professional to get an official diagnosis of why this maladaptive daydreaming occurs. Mental Health doctors assess each case and may propose alternative treatments, changing lifestyles, or medication to help manage these symptoms 🏥. Knowing where to draw the line to stay healthy and productive is essential.
If you are experiencing any signs of Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder, it is best to consult a professional👩⚕️. It is essential to recognize the signs of this disorder and work on controlling these symptoms to live better and reach our fullest potential.
ADHD and Daydreaming: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is daydreaming?
Daydreaming consists of a string of thoughts we have while we’re awake. It also detaches us from the task or happening we’re engaged at the moment.
Is daydreaming a symptom of ADHD?
No, it isn’t. However, there are reports of people with ADHD who often daydream. Maladaptive daydreaming is also associated with ADHD.
Is it okay for a person with ADHD to daydream?
Normal daydreaming can be a good way to relieve stress and anxiety regardless of whether you have ADHD or not. However, there are accounts indicating that ADHD is associated with Maladaptive Daydreaming, where the daydreams are so excessive and intense that they can go on for hours on end.