daydreaming cloud image

Maladaptive Daydreaming Definition

Daydreaming too much is often referred to as Maladaptive Daydreaming. It is a debilitating illness characterized by an excessive, sometimes unstoppable urge to daydream. Maladaptive daydreaming and daydreamers can be shortened to MD and MDers respectively. Because it’s so excessive, MDers will sometimes daydream around 60% of their life away. The daydreams can vary in what they are about. Sometimes MDers will daydream about a fantasy world that’s huge and the stories are extremely long. These daydreams could be worthy of a book and are often elaborate. On the other hand, some daydreamers will daydream short stories that constantly change or they will daydream conversations and real life scenarios. Many daydreamers will have multiple types of daydreams.

The daydreams don’t always have to be the same moods. Some MDers will daydream according to their feelings. Taking this into account, not all daydreams are happy. Sometimes they’re horrifying and make the maladaptive daydreamer more depressed ironically. Doctors aren’t sure what causes this disorder. It’s not even that well known and the disease is relatively new. As it is not in the DSM-5, people can’t be medically diagnosed with it. But in my opinion, it is pretty easy to tell if you have it. Do you daydream for hours a day and does it interfere with your ability to live a normal life? If you answered yes to this, then you may have maladaptive daydreaming.

What Causes MD

It’s not well known what causes Maladaptive Daydreaming, but some psychiatrists theorize that it could be trauma related. Although this isn’t always the case. I was born with this disorder, so it could be genetic. But maybe it is actually personality related which would make a lot of sense. If it’s personality, it could be a product of a creative mind. People with maladaptive daydreaming tend to be a lot more creative and artistic than most people. I could see this being the case.

Personally, I see it as a good thing. As a writer, I need to be creative and come up with many ideas very quickly. It comes in handy being a maladaptive daydreamer when you put it to good use. I consider it a gift but also a curse.

Side Effects

Like I said earlier, it can be a blessing or a curse. The side effects of this disorder can be debilitating in some people. It can cause a low attention span which greatly reduces your ability to function. This includes activities such as reading where you can barely focus on what’s being read. Because of this, it makes college difficult. I’m currently in college and understand that from a first hand experience. Another activity that can be difficult to achieve is driving. When you drive it requires a steady focus on the road to avoid casualties, but with excessive daydreaming your focus is being diverted. This could lead to accidents on the road and possibly casualties. As a result, I am hesitant to learn how to drive as my maladaptive daydreaming is severe.

Pacing and other movements of the body including facial expressions can also be a symptom. This is one of the main reasons that sometimes those with this disorder don’t like being around others in person much. These movements can often be embarrassing and give away personal thoughts and feelings. Sometimes you can stare at someone and make faces at them and not realize it until they’re offended. This causes many social problems.

Daydreaming to much can also lead to poor grades, poor work performance, and a lack of social connections. This is because daydreaming can take up so much of your time and energy.

Jobs for Someone with Maladaptive Daydreaming

After seeing that so many people want to know the best jobs for maladaptive daydreamers, I decided to make a list of the best jobs for daydreamers like you and me. This list will specifically be for the people with maladaptive daydreaming disorder not only regular daydreamers. The difference between these two are significant as people with the disorder usually daydream significantly more than those without the disorder.

One thing to note is that these jobs aren’t for everyone. Some people with this illness will function best with other jobs whereas some of you may think these are great. Everyone is unique so you may not enjoy these jobs. Also, your other personality traits may play a role in your compatibility with these careers. With that said, let’s get into this.
For starters, I’ll divide this list into categories by flexibility of daydreaming, level of education, and how much attention you will need to complete the job on a scale of 1, being the lowest, to 10. Flexibility of daydreaming refers to whether or not you love to daydream about anything which is the highest or whether you have to daydream specific things or stories.
For Those Who Love to Daydream About Specific Things
This means no flexibility in dreams.

  1. Writer:
    • Education requirements: none. Mostly portfolio based.
    • Can be flexible in daydreaming.
    • Requires decent attention but is very flexible with attention.
    • Pay: varies but can be around 60k a year. Sometimes as low as 20k.
    This one is common to discuss. This job can allow you to write your own things depending on the company or whether you publish your own content such as books or blog content. If you love daydreaming stories and don’t mind sharing, you could try publishing a fiction book. On the other hand, if you love to think of more nonfiction topics such as having conversations with people or talking, you could try to publish informational content on topics you love to imagine yourself talking about.
    This is a good job as it is usually very flexible with scheduling and if you get lost in thought then it is easy to jump back to it. Most writers won’t get in trouble for daydreaming on the job as they get paid per word or project.
  2. Certain types of assistant:
    • Education requirements: minimal sometimes you need an associate’s degree or higher in some fields.
    • Flexible in daydreaming.
    • Less flexible with attention but it’s tedious work a lot of the time so it gives you a lot of time to daydream.
    • Pay: around 20 – 50k a year.
  3. Retail Associate:
    • Education requirements: high school.
    • Flexible in daydreaming.
    • Flexible with attention. You can just daydream while hanging signs or stocking shelves. However, you WILL get interrupted quite frequently.
    • Pay: around 20k or less.
    For Those Who Can Daydream About Anything
    This mean you are very flexible in daydreaming.

For Those Who Can Daydream About Anything
This mean you are very flexible in daydreaming.

  1. Artist:
    • Education requirements: none.
    • Less flexible in daydreaming because you usually work commission.
    • Requires full attention, but you get to daydream about what to draw prior to drawing.
    • Pay: varies. Can be low pay or very high depending on skill, connections, and marketing capabilities.
  2. Technical writer:
    • Education: associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
    • Less flexible in daydreaming because you have to write what the client wants, but you can write what you care about.
    • Requires full attention.
    • Pay: quite high. Usually 60-80k.
  3. Any job that your passionate about.
    • This helps because you can use your creative intelligence to your advantage in most careers.

If Daydreaming is causing you too much difficulty…

You don’t need to face this alone. You can try It’s an affordable therapy service for less than $40/week and they provide extra worksheets with cognitive behavioral therapy to help you recover/cope. It’s a great service that is good for anyone that wants reasonably priced, online therapy. Make sure to use the link to get a 20% discount.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of options for those with maladaptive daydreaming. It can be really effective at enabling you to come up with great ideas. I hope everyone with this disorder can learn to function and find their dream job. Then you can daydream until your heart’s content.

For anyone suffering a mental health crisis due to MD, you can text HOME to 741741. This is Crisis Text Line and I left a review of them here. They can counsel you for a little while you calm down. It’s never good to suffer alone.


  1. hi! your text was really helpful, I suffer anxiety and treat it with therapy sessions. Today my therapist literally said I’m crazy because I dream and create illusions of my life too much. I felt terrible like I was a freak or something. But these daydreams help to go through my life. I have a good life, I have a home, a family, I’m in college but I’m not happy, and I don’t know why. Create new worlds in my mind is my medicine to escape from this world. I find your blog on twitter (I’m from Brazil!) and it helps me to calm down and find better solutions for my problem. thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.