Sixteen year old is disconnecting from reality


Sixteen year old is disconnecting from reality


your avatar   Danielle, 45 year-old woman

My 16-year-old daughter claims that she still has imaginary friends. I did not believe her at first, but then I witnessed her talking to herself one day. I mean a true conversation. I asked her about these friends of hers. She told me that she had more than 5.

There is one thing I did not tell you yet, she said that for every group of friends she has another name, age, basically life. She has also created these imaginary worlds that she just suddenly falls into. I asked her to stop talking to these friends, but less than a week later she told me she could not live without them.

Now, my daughter has begun to even use the names that she has created. I mean when she introduces herself, sometimes she says the wrong name. She is slowly but surely backing away from the real world, and that is scaring me. I mean she does not even have any real friends anymore. I need to know if my daughter has a mental disorder. If yes I need to what the mental disorder is and how to correct the problem. If not I need to know is this a phase or what?


    Susan Maroto,

Dear Danielle,

You are right to be concerned about your daughter, and I strongly urge you to take her to a mental health professional in your area for an evaluation. The behavior that you describe is not typical for her age, and it sounds as if the line between fantasy and reality is quickly becoming blurry for her. This is not a problem that you or she can correct on your own, and "giving up" her fantasy world is quite likely not something that she can do on her own through sheer force of will power in order to please you or honor a promise that she made to you. Once she is properly diagnosed, the therapist can work with you and her to design the course of treatment that she needs, which may include medication. It is important to get started as soon as possible, though, before she slips further into her fantasy life.

Take care and good luck.


Susan Maroto

This question has been answered by Susan Maroto. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working out of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She uses an eclectic approach to holistic healing, mind-body relationships, life transitions, depression, and anxiety.For more information visit:

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