Does Maladaptive Daydreaming Disappear?

Many wonder whether or not, given enough time, maladaptive daydreams just go away on their own.

The answer really comes down to what the impetus for your maladaptive daydreams are. If your maladaptive daydreams have arisen because you are simply bored or otherwise unfulfilled in some way in your day-to-day life, then getting some added stimulus could be all you need.

For instance, many students go through periods of deep maladaptive daydreaming but then as their studies get busier they find themselves needing to get out of their maladaptive daydreams and successfully do so. 

However, many maladaptive daydreamers don't get off that easily. Instead, when their real life gets busy (or is already busy to begin with!), they find they can't focus on what they need to due to their maladaptive daydreams intruding into their minds.

In order to really figure out what's going on here, we need to take a step back and think about what your maladaptive daydreams could be trying to solve, or what void they're filling in your real life.

What Are Maladaptive Daydreams Trying to Solve

As we've talked about before, maladaptive daydreams can arise due to a number of different reasons.

However, I prefer to think about maladaptive daydreams via a rationalist approach where we begin by the assumption that your daydreams are rational even if they appear to be destructive.

An easy way to see this is through some of the stories that I have published here where we see people engage in maladaptive daydreams that they know are hurting their "real" life, but find it to be a worthwhile escape to engage in nevertheless. 

For example, imagine that you're in a job you dislike and feel like you have no potential exit. You then begin engaging in maladaptive daydreams that are utterly divorced from your actual reality and that - perhaps ironically - cause your job performance to suffer and for your boss to get agitated. 

How could these maladaptive daydreams possibly be a rational?

The rationalist explanation would be that these maladaptive daydreams are a form of escapism. You dislike your job and perhaps deep down wouldn't mind if you just got fired so actively put in as poor of a performance as possible (which your maladaptive daydreams help you do).

Another extremely common kind of rationalist explanation for maladaptive daydreams is that you engage in them because you actively do not want to think about your life at all. This is distinct from escapism, although the two are related. If you simply have no interest in thinking about your life, if you just don't want to face the reality of it, then it may be perfectly rational to look to daydreams to fill the void.

The Test and The Experiment

To see how serious your maladaptive daydreams are - or are not - you can take the maladaptive daydreaming test, which is freely available on this site.

Alternatively, or in conjunction with taking the test, you can try out a little experiment. 

Plan out as jam-packed of a day as you possibly can. Create a list of things to do and create plans such that from morning to night you will be as fully occupied as any human can possibly be. Get creative with it, go all out!

If during this day you find yourself lapsing into your typical maladaptive daydreams, then you know that you aren't engaging in them to simply "fill the void" during your day.

Instead, you'll know that you're engaging in them because of a deeper reason that will require some level of work to overcome. In particular, you may need to begin using some of the tactics and strategies I've outlined to cause your daydreams to be less appealing to yourself.

Maladaptive daydreams can be a wonderfully effective form of diversion, distraction, and escapism. They work. However, their capacity to seriously derail your life should not be overlooked and should not be under appreciated. 

Try out the experiment listed above and see if you can get your mind distracted from your own daydreams. In other words, see if you can just get outside of your head for at least an entire day.

No Matter What, Your Maladaptive Daydreams Can Disappear

Everyone has come to their maladaptive daydreams in their own way. One of the curious things about them is that nearly nobody has heard of them prior to getting them. Instead, it's only through researching online that they find out they are even a thing to begin with!

But that doesn't mean there are not defined tactics and strategies for overcoming your maladaptive daydreams. While it can take a bit of work, as easily as MD crept into your life it can also be extricated from your life as well. 

As I've stressed many times on this site, the most important thing is to make a decision about how entrenched these daydreams are, how much you wish to get rid of them, and how dedicated you will be in following through.

While some engage in maladaptive daydreams for years on end - sometimes going over the same script for all of these years - I have not heard of anyone yet who has had them for their entire life. Perhaps that is the case, which would be a terribly sad reality, but I think generally speaking maladaptive daydreams will go away with enough time.

The unfortunate reality is that the time it takes to go away organically can leave a real scar on the trajectory of your real life, which is why I tried very hard to get rid of my own maladaptive daydreams (with a lot of time and effort) and why I created these resources to help you do the same as quickly as possible.

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