The Current

Maladaptive daydreaming, a debilitating condition with no escape

Nothing could be more normal than letting our minds wander, and lapsing into a daydream. But for sufferers of what's known as maladaptive daydreaming, it's far from relaxing. It takes over their lives, trapped in a waking nightmare. Some are calling for the condition to be recognized as a psychiatric disorder.
Sufferers of maladaptive daydreaming say they are trapped in a waking nightmare. (Evelyn Flint, Flickr cc)
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Do your daydreams take over your life? (Michael Jastremski, cc)

Nothing could be more normal than letting our minds wander into a daydream. But for sufferers of what's known as maladaptive daydreaming, it's far from relaxing. It takes over their lives, trapped in a waking nightmare.

Listen to what a sufferer experiences when lapsing into a maladaptive daydream:

It sounds like a rich and elaborate imaginative world... like the basis of a sprawling novel or an engrossing TV series... but for Cordellia Rose, these characters are her daydreams. They're also her life.  

Cordellia Rose has, what some refer to, as maladaptive daydreaming... where an active imagination becomes more than a distraction. It can be debilitating.
 

It's not even a fantasy world. It was reality. I spent many years where it crippled me, and I couldn't interact with people, I couldn't function.- Cordellia Rose, suffers from maladaptive daydreaming

To gain more insight into what's called maladaptive daydreaming, we were joined by someone who can relate to what Cordellia Rose describes. Jayne Bigelsenis a former maladaptive daydreamer, who is now involved in researching the condition. She was in New York City. 

Eli Somer is the first health care professional to study this. He is a Clinical Psychologist, teaching at the University of Haifa.  He was in Haifa, Israel.
 

If you can relate to what you just heard, and you are a maladpative daydreamer... let us know.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant.