Hello, all. I am the mother of a wonderful boy who has recently spoken to me about feelings as if his life was a dream... that it was some sort of different reality. He spoke about an unsatisfying, unfulfilling life. I am worried, very worried, and wish to help him But I have no clue how. I don't even understand exactly what it is that he is experiencing. As I was reading about what could possibly be happening, I came across this place. I hope someone could help me understand so I have the right words for my son. Thank you.
Unless he’s specifically experiencing actual daydreams, it’s unlikely his problem is maladaptive daydreaming. From your description, it sounds like he’s just dissociating. “Feeling like everything is a dream/unreal” is a pretty common dissociative experience.
While MD is a type of dissociation (all daydreaming is), there’s a difference. When you have MD, you’re daydreaming pretty much all the time and that’s what impacts your ability to function in real life. We generally prefer daydreams over reality. If your son didn’t speak about specifically daydreaming, only feeling like life is a dream, I would definitely talk to a therapist about dissociation.