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Can Maladaptive Daydreaming be Treated?

Foram Mehta
Do you spend endless hours daydreaming? Are you addicted to it? Are you suffering from maladaptive daydreaming? Read more, to know how you can control and prevent it from happening.
The concept or the state of mind of maladaptive daydreaming is projected by Eli Somer who defines it as "a state in which a person daydreams or imagines as a psychological response to prior trauma or abuse". And yes! You can treat maladaptive daydreaming, though there is no prescribed medication for it.
You can treat it using your will power, self discipline, and determination to stop yourself from doing so. As long as a person is daydreaming he doesn't realize that he has a problem but only when he communicates with others and spends time with them, he will realize that his thoughts are not realistic and that he needs a reality check.
Everyone daydreams! So, then if it is such a commonly experienced phenomenon why does one really need to treat it? Treating excessive daydreaming is important because maladaptive daydreaming can affect an individual in many adverse ways. Let's first look at the effects of maladaptive daydreaming.

Drifting Away from Reality

People suffering from maladaptive daydreaming tend to drift away from reality. This does not mean that they are schizophrenic or paranoid but rather that they prefer to stay in the state of daydreaming and believe that things are similar in reality. This can backfire when the person enters the married phase of life and things do not go his/her way.

Antisocial Behavior

Most of the time maladaptive daydreamers prefer to stay in the state of daydreaming instead of meeting people and interacting with them.

Affects Your Day-to-Day Life

It can affect you in your daily life as you would not be able to concentrate on your work and if you have got addicted to daydreaming then it could actually hamper your routine work by daydreaming when you are in the middle of something and losing the link. Therefore, maladaptive Daydreaming needs to be stopped!

Symptoms of a Daydreamer

Repetitive Movements

All the maladaptive daydreamers have been found to have a common trait of repeating some movements like, pacing, rocking, tapping something, moving hands or feet, swinging and rocking.

Expression While Daydreaming

Maladaptive daydreamers give expressions like smiling, laughing, crying or any facial expression while daydreaming.

Hours Spent on Daydreaming

If you can spend hours on daydreaming, then it is certainly not normal. Daydreaming for a small duration is not hazardous and does not require treatment.

Difficulty in Going to Sleep

A maladaptive daydreamer faces difficulty in getting sleep.

Difficulty of Getting Out of Bed Once Awake

Those who are suffering from maladaptive daydreaming find it difficult to pull themselves out of their beds, once they have woken up. They stay in bed and start dreaming, without realizing it.

Listening to Music

Going into a trance listening to music is something else, but people suffering from maladaptive daydreaming trigger their dreams when they listen to music. This is one of the most common triggers experienced by people.

Treatment Measures

Keep Yourself Occupied

Keep yourself busy and engrossed in productive things. Plan your day well and follow a schedule. Take up a long-lost hobby like dancing, singing or playing a sport and develop it. It will help you get rid of daydreaming.

Avoid Triggers

To avoid things that trigger your dreams you need to first figure out what triggers your daydreaming. Once you know it, simply avoid them. If a particular movement triggers daydreaming for you then the moment you realize you are doing it, stop your self and divert your mind into something else.

Keep a Reality Check

Keeping a reality check means reminding yourself that all you are doing is daydreaming and that it is doing no good to you. Tell yourself that, "all that you are feeling is- NOT REAL." Once your brain and mind is aware of the difference between reality and dreams, it will automatically pull you back to reality.

Stop Yourself/Control Your Mind

Daydreaming can be very pleasing and addictive but you have to stop yourself from doing so. Your life is in your control so train and teach your brain to listen and obey your commands. Don't let your heart or your brain rule your head; always keep them in balance.

Confide into Someone

A major reason why maladaptive dreaming takes over is because a person does not have anyone to talk to or share his/her emotions with. Talk to a friend or your folks. You feel better when you know that people actually care for you and love you.


Praying for me is not about chanting a particular prayer or addressing to a particular god. According to me, prayer is a way in which one tries to communicate to that power that beholds us. Just pray and you can also confide into this divine force. Prayers have scientifically proven to bring positive energy and positive thoughts. Praying heals!

You are Not the Only One

Don't feel left out or punish yourself for this. Understand that it is a very common experience and many people are facing this same problem as you. However, they are either living with it or are fighting it away. You always have a choice.
"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something."~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Consult a Therapist

If you think you need some guidance and you have not found anyone who could understand you then, consult a therapist and take their unbiased advise.

Love Yourself

It's very important to love yourself. It does not mean being self obsessed but it means that you value and respect yourself. Take care of your needs and not neglect your priorities and make your self happy.


Keep in touch with your friends and others you like. Go out with them, talk to them and keep connected. Don't isolate yourself as talking to others will keep you grounded, involved and occupied.

Let Go of the Past

This is something that everyone must do. Irrespective of you having a problem or not, forgive and forget (which is difficult) helps in creating a healthy mind. Holding back to past experiences will only prevent you from moving forward. So, move ahead and live your life.
Please note that there is no medical treatment as such for treating the problem of maladaptive daydreaming as its research is still under the nascent stage. Therefore curing it is totally in your hands. So accept your problem and let go.
"You cannot let go of anything if you cannot notice that you are holding it. Admit your 'weaknesses' and watch them morph into your greatest strengths." ~ Neale Donald Walsch