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What are the good and the bad parts of maladaptive daydreaming?

I went to see my therapist today and she told me to write down a list of all the best and low points of Maladaptive Daydreaming and then to compare them. Here are mine, it would be good to see yours too.

Why Maladaptive Daydreaming feels good

  • Whatever my character feels, love, happiness, confidence etc I get to feel that too, instantly.
  • It’s a quick fix. Immersive daydreaming is instant. Feeling anxious or low? I know how to fix that with daydreaming so I feel good in seconds.
  • It takes my mind off other problems, such as not knowing what to do with my life.
  • It stops me from feeling anxious.
  • It stops me from feeling bored.

Why Maladaptive Daydreaming is bad for you (the low points)

is maladaptive daydreaming bad for you?

  • Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction and as we know addictions are not good for you and are really hard to break. The longer you let yourself daydream, the harder it will be to break.
  • Our fantasy worlds are not real. We are wasting hours and hours a day dreaming about something that is not real and for the vast majority of us will never be real. So what is the point? Daydreaming addiction can only lead to disappointment.
  • My work suffers. I find it very hard to focus on my job as my mind keeps wandering off, so I’m not being as productive as I can be.
  • I’m not living in the moment, my mind is often elsewhere so I’m letting life pass me by.
  • I’m becoming late for work, not doing chores like laundry when it needs to be done as I’m concentrating on my daydream so things either don’t get done on time or if so they’re done days later.
  • Intellectually, I’m suffering. I’m not reading anymore or watching the news or learning anything new, as of course, constantly daydreaming takes up time and concentration. Plus, I would much rather go over a daydreaming plot then pick up a newspaper.

Well, this is my pro and con maladaptive daydreaming list. Please share yours below too, it would be interesting to see if they’re similar or not. As per usual, if you want to share something, add something, or offer advise please email me or leave a comment below.

Best wishes,

Anna x

 

 

Is constant daydreaming normal? No. Constant daydreaming is not normal. Constant daydreaming is not healthy. If you’re constantly daydreaming it means:-

  1. You are not living in the present.
  2. You are probably not doing work or schoolwork to the best of the ability.
  3. You are ignoring your friendships and relationships as you’re spending to much time in your fantasy world that you’ve built up in your mind.

If you’ve come to this page you’ve probably typed in something like “constantly daydreaming” or “can’t stop daydreaming” into Google to try and understand what is going on.

I’ve been there. Nearly a year ago I suddenly just started daydreaming. And when I say daydreaming, I mean not just here and there but all day long. All the time. My mind could not shut it off. I was daydreaming whilst watching TV, I couldn’t even read a book as my daydreams were far more pleasurable so what was the point?

Am I describing you?

If you are going through this for the first time, I know it feels very weird, you at first have no idea what is going on. Why has your mind suddenly latched onto constantly daydreaming? Why do you need to keep on daydreaming the same things until you perfect them in your mind? Why do you suddenly have all these vivid conversations and plot lines and characters? Well if you’re new to this, there is a term that neatly describes what you’re going through and it’s maladaptive daydreaming. 

Maladaptive daydreaming also known as immersive daydreaming, is basically when you are daydreaming so much it starts to interfere in your life in a negative way. Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction, you’re addicted to all the pleasurable emotions that your characters are feeling. You know its unhealthy and you know you need to stop but the pull is just too great. I mean lets face it, it’s instant gratification. If you can suddenly feel loved, confident and happy on tap, why on earth would you want to give that up? That’s what makes this affliction so hard to break.

Why are you constantly daydreaming?

what causes maladaptive daydreaming?Well if you’re constantly daydreaming (maladaptive daydreaming) then you are probably using this as a coping mechanism to avoid feeling anxious, stressed, or to avoid reliving old trauma.  It’s a form of escapism. A highly addictive form of escapism.

How do I stop constantly daydreaming?

maladaptive daydreaming treatmentsWell that’s the million dollar question isn’t it? How do we stop immersive daydreaming? From all my research and scouring forums, people have stopped this daydreaming addiction. But it’s not easy. Nearly all ex maladaptive daydreamers have said to end this they have had to:

1. Brutally stop and let the anxiety and all the negative feelings wash over you. You basically need to confront why your subconscious started this in the first place. What are the causes? Don’t shy away from this. My therapist told me (this is my homework this week) to stop daydreaming for one day, let the anxiety come as an anxiety attack won’t last forever (her words not mine) and let your mind/body tell you what the matter is. I’ll be frank with you. I haven’t managed to stop daydreaming for a day. My mind won’t let me and I don’t want to. But I know if I want this to end it’s what I’m going to have to do.

2. Get busy. Do a new course or class. Challenge yourself to do something new. Start to make new friends and connections so you don’t feel lonely. Do something active where you have to engage your mind like tennis or a dance class so you can’t daydream. Again, I haven’t managed to do this either yet. However, I can see how this helps. And you may have better luck and more self control than me.

3. See a therapist or talk to your doctormaladaptive daydreaming therapy

Talking about this daydreaming addiction to a trained professional can only help. I’m  on session 3 with a therapist and it is nice to actually be understood by somebody and have somebody who will listen.

 

Do you have a question?

If you have a question or want to offer advice please just leave a comment below. Otherwise please email me on: [email protected] I’m happy to help and listen.

Best wishes,

Anna x

Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you. NHS

After months of waiting to see a therapist, I finally got to have my first appointment to talk about my maladaptive daydreaming last week. She’s a nice lady and didn’t seem to think I was a complete nutcase to have started immersive daydreaming. I told her I view maladaptive daydreaming as an addiction that I can’t control or stop and half the time I don’t want to stop it, as obviously it feels just too good. It makes me feel happy being in my own little world.

She told me she works a lot with people who suffer with addictions and yes this immersive daydreaming that we’re all suffering from is definitely an addiction.

So how do you break this maladaptive daydreaming addiction, assuming of course that you want to?

So she asked me a question, which I’ll ask you…

Therapist: Is there anything that you really love doing?

Me: Yes travel. I love travelling.

Therapist: Well you could travel somewhere, couldn’t you?

Me: Well, yes I suppose. But to be honest there’s not much point at the moment because I’ll be daydreaming the whole time and so won’t be taking everything in.

Therapist: Well then, are you basically saying there’s nothing at the present that you can think of that will feel better than daydreaming?

Me: Ummm. Gosh, maybe I am, I can’t think of anything that I love doing that will make me actually stop maladaptive daydreaming. Or that feels better.

(Feeling a bit worried now)

Therapist: What happens when you force yourself to stop immersive daydreaming?

Me: I become incredibly anxious and I have nothing that can fill that void apart from the maladaptive daydreaming so I go back to it.

Therapist: So you’re saying that you use maladaptive daydreaming as away to cope with your anxiety plus it’s a form of escapism for you?

Me: Yes.

Me: If I stop daydreaming I feel so anxious. Palpitations, I feel teary, I can’t sit still. So what are you saying? There’s nothing I can do then apart from MDD to stop feeling anxious?  And if there’s nothing I like doing that makes me feel better than daydreaming, what on earth does that mean? What should I do? I don’t want to live like this forever!

The Eureka Moment

And she said: “it’s quite simple really. Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction, which you use as a coping mechanism. So find another way to cope.  There are other ways to cope with anxiety and trauma, you just need to find another healthier way that works for you.

Her last comment resonated with me as it made me think, there are other alternatives to try such as:

The homework the therapist set for maladaptive daydreamers

I thought I’d tell you what she asked me to do in case you don’t have access to a therapist or wanted to also try something new out.

  1. Make a conscious decision to stop daydreaming for 30 minutes everyday.  She did at first set a timeframe of a few hours but that for me was not realistic (I’m a hard core maladaptive daydreamer after all). I thought 30 minutes was more achievable so I set that as my time limit. But you might want to set another time limit.

 

2. Make a list of things you think you’d enjoy doing. These things do not have to be as good as maladaptive daydreaming but at least as half as good. So for example:-  -You might want to try out a new course, gym, swimming, a dance class etc. For now it’s just about writing ideas down.

Well tomorrow is my third session with the therapist and will update you if anything new comes to light.

Do you have a question?

If you have something to add or advice or if you just want to ask a question then please get in touch and leave a comment below.

Best wishes

Anna

 

 

This is a tricky question. I see it asked a lot online. Is maladaptive daydreaming rare? Well, from my own experience as somebody who has only told my therapist and doctor that that I suffer from immersive daydreaming. It’s pretty hard to gauge. Since the majority of us keep it a secret. We don’t talk about it openly do we? In case the people we know think we’re nuts or use it against us in some way.

Sometimes if I sit down down in a cafe, I catch myself looking around and wonder if anybody else is currently maladaptive daydreaming. Or, if I’m walking down the street and see other people with their headphones on, I think, are they in a daydream now too?

The reddit maladaptive daydreaming group has around 25,000 members. And if you do a search for “Maladaptive daydreaming” into Google it receives over 300,000 results. There are lots of Facebook groups for Maladaptive daydreaming alongside people asking questions on Quora about it. It clearly affects a lot of people. 

Is Maladaptive daydreaming rare?

But is Maladaptive daydreaming rare? I remember reading on a forum somewhere that Eli Somer believed that 1% of the population suffered from immersive daydreaming. Well Google tells me that the population of Earth is 7.7 Billion, and as we know 1% of 7.7 Billion is 77 million which, if true seems like a lot of people! Are 77 million of us suffering from this addiction? 

Just think about that for a minute. There could be 77 Million people right now all over the planet who are also suffering from maladaptive daydreaming. That’s a massive number. We are definitely not alone in this.

constantly maladaptive daydreaming rareMaladaptive daydreaming is not well known

The problem, I think, is that as maladaptive daydreaming is not well known or widely discussed it might seem rare. But just because something isn’t well known or properly understood, that doesn’t make something rare or uncommon. I mean, when I realised I was daydreaming all the time, I had to Google “daydreaming constantly” to try and find out what on earth was happening to me. I had never heard of the term “maladaptive daydreaming” before but soon discovered I was certainly not the only person to be suffering from it. I guess the only way people will learn about immersive daydreaming is if we speak up about it. But that is indeed a very hard ask.

Do you have a question about Maladaptive Daydreaming?

As usual, if you have a question, advice or comment about maladaptive daydreaming please leave a comment below. Otherwise please email: a[email protected]

 

I think a lot of people when they first realise they have maladaptive daydreaming, want to know why, why have they suddenly got this daydreaming addiction, what on earth has caused this?  The longer however maladaptive daydreaming goes on, the more you begin to understand that it is a coping mechanism. A way to deal with the harshness of reality, trauma you’ve experienced, anxiety and loneliness.

We all know that there is no medical recognition for maladaptive daydreaming, even when I saw my doctor and told him I had maladaptive daydreaming, he didn’t understand at first what I was talking about and offered me anti-anxiety medication.

So what are the causes of maladaptive daydreaming?

  • loneliness
  • abuse
  • trauma
  • anxiety
  • depression

We all know it then becomes an addiction. We have created a wonderful and vivid world in our heads to escape the problems we are facing, and we soon have an emotional attachment to the characters we have created in our minds. It’s ridiculously hard to curb because it feels so good. And even though you know you need to stop this daydreaming addiction, you soon get to a point where you don’t want to give it up. Even when it starts to interfere with your work, relationships or school.

What do you think your root cause is of your daydreaming addiction?

anxiety and daydreamingMine is anxiety. I worry about the future and I’m unhappy about where I currently am in my life. I’m still on a waiting list to see a therapist to talk about my maladaptive daydreaming. When I do get to see one, I will update you and let you know if talking about my issues had gotten rid of  my MD.

Do you have something to add?

If you have something to add on why you think you have maladaptive daydreaming or would just to say hello. Please leave a comment below.

Best wishes,

Anna

If you know you suffer from maladaptive daydreaming disorder the thought of whether you should tell your doctor or not, would have already occurred to you. whether you talk to your doctor or therapist about it is another matter.

After 3 or 4 days of constantly maladaptive daydreaming, I decided to Google what it meant, as constantly daydreaming was a very new and very strange thing for me. It did not start in childhood like lots of other people say it did, it just started a few months before I turned 38 years old. So that’s how I first realised that there was a name for what basically a daydreaming addict was. A maladaptive daydreamer.

When Dr. Eli Somer lead a study with Maladaptive Daydreamers he noted that one MD sufferer was successfully treated by a drug called Fluvoxamine for ten years.  This drug Fluvoxamine helps to influence serotonergic tone, which he said: “implies neurochemical irregularity”.

So are we just low on serotonin?   Serotonin also known as the happy chemical is believed to:

  1. Help regulate mood and sleep.
  2. Some believe there is a link between depression and low Serotonin levels.
  3. Serotonin, in the brain impacts levels of mood, anxiety, and happiness.
  4. Some believe we can increase Serotonin levels by exercising, light, food and vitamin supplements.

Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter can be found throughout the body, it can be found in our blood and central nervous system but is produced in the brain and intestines. Therefore its considered to influence a variety of body and psychological functions.

So how do we make sure  we have enough Serotonin?

Medication

As I’ve already mentioned in another post on treating maladaptive daydreaming, medication, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been used since the 1980s to treat depression by boosting serotonin levels.

medication for maladaptive daydreamingHowever, what is interesting is that whilst Serotonin can be measured in the bloodstream it can’t be measured  in the brain.  Therefore does serotonin levels in the bloodstream reflect the serotonin levels in the brain? And if it is the serotonin in the brain that controls mood, as a maladaptive daydreamer is it then ever possible to know  if we have enough serotonin in us or not?

However, my doctor has prescribed a drug called Sertraline a (SSRI) selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for me to take, as he thinks it will manage the constant daydreaming and anxiety. I have yet to take it.

 

Vitamins (Supplements)

Vitamins can help to boost Serotonin levelsVitamins can also help to boost your serotonin levels. I’m trying out 6 supplements at the moment!

Omega 3 Fish Oil


The body can’t make Omega 3 so you need to get it from your diet. Omega-3s are the basic building blocks of the brain and nervous system. Omega 3 is vital for brain health and we know serotonin is made in the brain. People with low serotonin levels often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. So take it!

Buy Omega 3 Fish Oil

Vitamin D


I did a blood test and I do have a vitamin D deficiency. We get vitamin D from the sun so a lot of people who live in countries with cold climates have a vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D regulates tryptophan into serotonin so too low a concentration can result in depression.

Buy Vitamin D Supplements

 

B Complex Vitamin


A study in 60 adults with depression showed that treatment with a B-complex vitamin for 60 days led to a substantial improvement in anxiety and depression.  Antidepressants often also include vitamin B6.

Buy Vitamin B-Complex Supplements

 

Green tea (L-theanine)


L-Theanine is an amino acid found nearly exclusively in green tea. L-theanine improves focus, reduces stress and promotes relaxation. A study conducted on rats showed that it provided anti-anxiety benefits. Well if it’s good enough for the rats…..

Buy L-Theanine Supplements

 

Your Diet

how to beat anxietyEating foods that contain tryptophan can help the body produce more serotonin. So what foods are high in the amino acid known as tryptophan?

  1. Salmon – As you know salmon is high is Omega 3 and is a source of vitamin D.
  2. Poultry
  3. Eggs
  4. Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach contain tryptophan.
  5. Seeds
  6. Nuts
  7. Carbohydrates – Foods that contain tryptophan are most effective if eaten alongside carbohydrates!!! Its time to ditch the Atkins and Keto diet and get out the pasta! About time!

Probiotics

Start drinking Probiotics in the morning as research suggests that this may increase tryptophan in your blood, helping more of it to reach your brain.

Exercise

exercise helps to beat anxietyWhen you exercise your body releases a surge of neurochemicals, including serotonin and dopamine. Since I started suffering from anxiety and maladaptive daydreaming I have started boxing twice a week.  It is one of the few times in a day where I’m not constantly maladaptive daydreaming as my mind is heavily focused on something else and again one of the few times that I’m not feeling anxious as obviously when exercising you’re burning off all that nervous energy.

Meditation

A study from John Hopkins university revealed that just 30 minutes of meditation a day can improve symptoms of depression. Meditation you see not only boosts serotonin levels but also reduces blood pressure.

 

So are we then as Maladaptive Daydreamers just low on serotonin?

I don’t see how we can ever know since serotonin in the brain can’t be measured and the serotonin made in the brain is what controls mood. However, I do think it makes sense to do small things like taking vitamins and exercising.

Do you have anything to add?

If you have found a way to reduce anxiety or control your maladaptive daydreaming in a way that I have not mentioned above, please let me know. Please leave a comment below or contact me so I can add it to the blog – [email protected]

Best wishes

Anna x

If you have maladaptive daydreaming, chances are you’re not sleeping very well. Waking up multiple times in the middle of the night? And every time you wake up you find yourself latching onto one of your daydreams? Sound familiar?  I have tried to stop daydreaming when I wake up at 2am but but I’m afraid my daydreaming addiction is so strong at the moment I don’t even want to stop it then. I find it comforting. So yes my Maladaptive daydreaming is making me feel constantly tired.

After living with maladaptive daydreaming for over 7 months, I feel as if I understand it a lot better and see it for what it is. Maladaptive daydreaming is a coping mechanism, a form of escapism to help you feel safe, less stressed, less anxious. MD stops you from thinking about the issues that are making you feel low or anxious so in a way you could look at it as a gift. It’s keeping you safe.  At the same time it’s masking the problems you’re facing, you’re not dealing with them, or trying to find out  a way to solve or cure them, so as you know MD at the same time as being a blessing is also a curse.

Mindfulness is all about staying in the present and being aware of everything that is going on in our surroundings in a non-reactive way. If we live our lives in the present moment we are supposed to attain true happiness.  For us maladaptive daydreamers learning how to be mindful is phenomenally important as it means trying to let go of our fantasy world and to live in the present.