Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hi, I'm new to the forum! This is the only forum I've ever seen that is centered around MD. (Out of curiosity, are there any other forums?)
I guess some background info is needed. I've been daydreaming since the fourth grade. I guess before that age, I just played make believe games.
It was really bad from about the fifth grade all the way through high school. I was very emotionally numb and distant during those years. Daydreaming was my escape and definitely my compulsion. I daydreamed less after college, but MD is still there.
Now, as an adult with a career, I only daydream during three significant times of my day. First, when I'm exercising (jogging.) Second, when I'm driving. Third, when I'm in bed (before sleep or if I wake up in the middle of the night. ) It doesn't bother me as much anymore, I guess because I have to do all those things anyway, so I don't feel like I'm wasting time. When I was younger I used to do things just to daydream like rock or swing. I don't go out of my way to daydream anymore. It's just something that happens while doing some other necessary, mundane thing.
I still wonder, though, if I shouldn't try to make an attempt at curbing it more. I have a hunch that these and other forms of escapism may contribute to social anxiety and depression, two things I've struggled with in the past.
Here's the article I read that first gave me this hunch.
Okay, so the article is about porn addiction, but I think it's ideas can be generalized to any addiction that increases dopamine levels. MD obviously increases dopamine levels. It's why we keep coming back to it. The "high". The addiction. Here are some quotes from the article to further make my point (for those too lazy to read it. lol).
Psychiatrist Norman Doidge suggests that the intense stimuli (high dopamine) of today's porn hijacks and rewires "brain real estate" that would otherwise be devoted to making social ties rewarding. (The Brain That Changes Itself, p. 109) Actual people become less rewarding; fake people become far more enticing. In this case, size does matter, namely, the amount of brain that lights up. Ceasing the compulsive behavior frees the brain to restore its normal priorities.
Tell me that doesn't sound a little like MD?
Here's another quote:
Interestingly, people whose habits cause continuous over-stimulation of their reward circuitry with high dopamine—drug users, for example—often feel anxious or depressed the rest of the time. This is largely due to abnormally low dopamine (or low sensitivity to dopamine) between the highs.
I knew this already about drug users, but I'd never thought about it being linked to something like masturbation/porn addiction. Knowing that there could be a link there, makes me think there could be a similar link with MD and depression/anxiety. There could be a link to other things too like TV addiction, anything that causes a surge in the brain chemicals that make you compulsively want to do it again and again.
Anyway, knowing that I could be an overall happier person without my (mild?) MD causes me to consider trying to stop it. I probably won't stop the daydreaming while exercising, but I think I could stop it while driving. Music and the hypnotic, mundane nature of driving is what causes the MD, but if I instead stick in a book on tape or some other speaking type CD, I would be required to actually focus and not daydream. I haven't seen the point in that as of yet, but if it's going to make me a happier person overall, then why not?
I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.