web analytics
January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘disorder’

Haifa University Discovers New Psychological Disorder: Maladaptive Daydreaming

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

A new psychological disorder has been identified in a series of recently published studies – Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD). Researchers from the University of Haifa, Fordham University in New York City, and University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have found that people with the disorder spend an average of 60% of their waking time in an imaginary world which they themselves have created, realizing that it is a fantasy, and without losing contact with the real world.

“Daydreaming usually starts as a small fantasy that makes people feel good, but over time the process becomes addictive until it takes over their lives,” explains Professor Eli Somer of the University of Haifa, one of the researchers and the first to identify the disorder. He continues: “At this stage the disorder is accompanied by feelings of shame and a sense of lack of fulfillment, but because till now the disorder has been unknown, when they come to receive treatment, therapists usually dismissed their complaints,”

Wandering of thoughts, fantasies and daydreams are part of the inner world of almost everyone, and they are depicted in popular culture. However, until now science has not addressed the pathological aspects of this, otherwise normal mental activity. A series of new studies published recently in several leading journals in psychology and psychiatry shed light on a psychological disorder that was not known until now. The story begins in 2002, when Prof. Somer was treating adults who had been sexually abused as children. Somer identified six survivors who used to escape regularly into a world of the imagination, where they fantasized compensatory empowering stories in which they enjoyed traits and life experiences that were missing in their real lives. Professor Somer named the phenomenon “maladaptive daydreaming” (MD) but at the time did not continue his investigation of the phenomenon. This article was followed in 2011 by a study by Jayne Bigelsen and Cynthia Schupak of 90 people who complained of excessive daydreaming. Their study that showed that MD is also spread among many individuals who have not had adverse childhoods. In the wake of these two studies, Somer and Bigelsen began to receive communications from countless individuals from around the world who related to them how they had suffered from exactly the same phenomenon, asking for their advise and help.

Together with Prof. Daniela Jopp from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Liora Somer from the Multidisciplinary Center for the Treatment of Victims of Sexual Abuse at the B’nai Zion Medical Center in Haifa, he conducted two additional qualitative studies and interviewed dozens of individuals who claimed to be suffering from the phenomenon. In these studies, they discovered recurring themes. For example, although maladaptive daydreaming first started as a positive experience providing pleasure and relaxation, it quickly developed into an addictive habit that took over their lives and impaired their functioning. “Maladaptive daydreaming naturally necessitates isolation from others and is almost always accompanied by repetitive body motions, such as pacing or rocking. About a quarter of these individuals had endured childhood trauma and many suffered from social anxiety” said Professor Somer.

Somer and Jopp were recently joined by Jayne Bigelsen and Jonathan Lehrfeld, investigators from Fordham University in New York City, who shared similar interests. Together they published two extensive quantitative studies published very recently in the journal Consciousness and Cognition. One study reported the development and validation of a maladaptive daydreaming scale (MDS) using a large sample of 447 individuals. The MDS was shown to differentiate very well between normal and maladaptive daydreaming and offered the first diagnostic and research instrument for the newly discovered disorder. In the second study, 340 participants aged 13–78 from 45 countries from the world were tested. The data showed that individuals affected by the disorder spent about 60% of their waking time in daydreaming, and more than half said that the disorder disrupted their sleep and that the first thing they are aware of when they wake up in the morning is their urge to daydream. Respondents reported having rich fantasy worlds with complex storylines. They tended to daydream significantly more about fictional tales and characters, in contrast to the daydreaming among the control group which were usually anchored in reality (e.g., the desire to earn more money, to find an attractive partner, etc.).


Taking the Words from my Mouth (Poem)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Taking the words from my mouth,
Twisting them, stretching them, turning them round and round,
Negating their true meaning, as it was meant to be heard,
You hear what you want without really listening.

Although I squeak and stutter when I have to speak,
And I get so nervous, confused, and completely terrified to say the wrong thing,
One wrong word can alienate others, and make them stay away,
One ill placed word can alter completely what I meant to say.

Sometimes when I come near them,
People turn around and walk the other way,
Never speaking, never caring just how much joy
Hello would bring me, how much light it would bring to my life.

Every time I’m around others,
The need to monitor words, expressions, the language of the body
A conscious effort, a constant analyzing of others,
Prevents me from feeling comfortable, stops me from ever relaxing.

I would give so much, just to know, just to feel
What it would be like, just once in a lifetime,
Once, and only once for an hour
To be able to see as others see, learn as others learn, hear as others hear
The in between the lines of any given conversation.
Being me is like a scientist who can’t experiment,
A mathematician who cannot count,
An author who cannot write,
A teacher unable to teach,
A competitive runner being unable to use his feet.

Everything I want with all my heart,
Falls into the space of those things I miss,
The mannerisms, nuances, facial expressions, body language,
When talking to others, teachers, bosses, friends, parents of students,
All these things others take for granted, I practice, I sweat over,
Til I no longer feel incapable, I rehearse my lines as if I have a role to play,
This is my life, this is why I feel so disconnected, as if an observer, an outsider.

This is a description of what it feels like to be me, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome,
Every conversation, every word thought over,
Analyzed under the finest microscope,
Before they, words, are spoken, uttered aloud,
Sometimes, mostly never, see the light of day,
Because its too late,
The time has passed to say them,
Their usefulness expired, as if never needed at all,
Always, forever, missing the boat,
Only ready to sail further when the boat’s 10 miles ahead,
Docked at new pier,
Ready to go to a new destination.

Forever on the outside looking in,
Never on the fast track,
Always slow, never have an in,
Feels like a piece is missing,
As if I am a puzzle, missing a piece,
A boat with no sail,
A snail without shell,
A butterfly with no wings;
Forever longing for the missing part of me
To take its place,
To be on the inside looking out with a smile,
To look out over the water and know that this time,
The boat and I will arrive together at a new point; in harmony at last.

Always wondering if what I see and interpret is right,
The emotions, signaled through a look, a motion of the body,
For those missing all these little signs, considered an insignificant skill by most,
For those without the ability, to discern, to differentiate,
Between one look and the next,
One motion from the other,
A challenge, a war waged, a battle ensues
Constantly, consciously taking note of every reaction, translating;
Working so hard to follow, to give the illusion, of sameness, belonging.

Wanting to share for the first time a genuine reaction to a joke,
Ironic statement, contribute a comment, observation,
Without missing the point is the opposite than its literal meaning,
Because of seeing one dimensional instead of three,
Thinking of it as flat not round,
Circle instead of sphere,
Imagining your emotions crumbling inside,
wanting to cry, as you once again realize-
You have missed the true meaning,
Getting away, tears streaming, truly defeated:
The feelings, you know once again, how much was overlooked,
How little you truly know about it all,
Life, that is, the way others are, the way others feel, conveyed
By the nonverbal aspects, the things people like me can’t seem to observe,
People like me miss the obvious to others,
In plain sight to see, but to have no clue of the how, the why,

It’s heartbreaking to know how simple others find it,
This skill that gives everyone, but people like me the ability to function,
To understand the whole of a conversation, read between the lines,
Sometimes, the tears come before I can hide,
Before I can imitate, be like everyone else,
Sometimes the tears, are the only way to show I don’t know,
Don’t comprehend, the confusing mess that to everyone else is the simple interaction amid the throng of humanity.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/taking-the-words-from-my-mouth-poem/2013/01/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: