People who get Lost, Literally, in Their own Daydreams
Determining to what extent daydreams are a mental illness is the basis for a scientific study…
From the time when we’re all very young, the determination of the border between real life and the life of fantasy and dreams is a part of most children’s normal socialization. For some people, though, daydreams are a bigger part of their daily lives, and they may even interfere with interpersonal relationships and with the meeting of social responsibilities.
Eli Somer from the University of Haifa, Israel, along with his colleagues, has been studying the phenomenon of “maladaptive daydreaming” in patients who self-diagnose. Excessive daydreaming, as it’s also called, has never been integrated into any clinical psychiatric diagnostic manual, but the phenomenon has brought together many people within virtual communities to discuss their symptoms. A 20-year-old patient described her own experience with daydreaming:
I have been lost in daydreams for as long as I can remember […] Some daydreams involve people I know […] Others do not include me at all […] These daydreams tend to be stories- […] for which I feel real emotion, usually happiness or sadness, which have the ability to make me laugh and cry […] They’re as important to part of my life as anything else.
Dr. Somer’s current project has been to link these daydreams with other psychopathological symptoms to try to better understand their functioning, and if possible, to design mechanisms for coping with them. In the most recent study, Somer and his colleague Nirit Soffer-Dudek, recruited 77 patients who’d self-diagnosed excessive daydreaming. They were from 26 countries and each tried to detail routines like food, sleep, and other environmental components.
The study’s findings suggest links between excessive daydreaming and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which can be treated through cognitive-behavioral therapies. It also seems to be a disorder linked to a decrease in serotonin, a neurotransmitter which plays a preponderant role in OCD.
A tendency to daydream shouldn’t be confused with any pathological disorder in the absence of intervention by a mental health professional. No medications have ever been prescribed for those who suffer from it. Thus far, it’s only the testimony of those who suffer from excessive daydreaming who provide the only source of information about the disorder. And they too, shouldn’t be discredited for having done so. One of Somer’s study participants stated: “I am torn between the love of my daydreams and the desire to be normal.”
Image: Creative Commons
7 Recommendations for Organizing Your Library
For the true bibliophile, few things are more important than finding a book from within your library.
Red tea, the best antioxidant beverage on earth
Red tea is considered to be the most unusual of teas because it implies a consistently different preparation process. ––It is believed that its finding came upon surprisingly when traditional green
A brief and fascinating tour of the world's sands
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. - William Blake What are we standing on? The ground beneath our feet
Strengthen your memory with rosemary oil
For thousands of years rosemary oil has been traditionally admired and used due to its many properties. In the Roman culture, for example, it was used for several purposes, among them cleansing, as
Literature as a Tool to Build Realities
Alain de Botton argues that great writers are like lenses through which we can see an infinite array of possibilities.
Mandelbrot and Fractals: Different Ways of Perceiving Space
Mathematics has always placed a greater emphasis on algebra, a “purer” version of itself, one that is more rational at least. Perhaps like in philosophy, the use of a large number knotted concepts in
Luis Buñuel’s Perfect Dry Martini
The drums of Calanda accompanied Luis Buñuel throughout his life. In his invaluable memoirs, published under the Buñuel-esque title, My Last Sigh, an entire chapter is dedicated to describing a
A Brief Manual of Skepticism, Courtesy of Carl Sagan
Whether or not you’re dedicated to science, these tips to identify fallacies apply to any form of rigorous thinking.
How to Evolve from Sadness
Rainer Maria Rilke explored the possible transformations that sadness can trigger in human beings.
Alan Watts, A Discreet And Charming Philosopher Of The Spirit
British thinker Alan Watts was one of the most accessible and entertaining Western interpreters of Oriental philosophy there have been.