Summary:

Kuijpers, van der Heijden, Tuinier and Verhoeven (2007) reported on a male patient who after meditating experienced a psychotic episode. Further study revealed that this was not an isolated incident. The examples found included both those with a pre-existing psychiatric history and those without. The researchers suggest that meditation could act as a trigger in vulnerable patients.

Abstract:

Background:Meditation is a self-regulatory psychological strategy that is frequently applied in Western as well as non-Western countries for different purposes; little is known about adverse events. Sampling and Methods: A male patient is described who developed an acute and transient psychosis with polymorphic symptomatology after meditating. A literature search for psychotic states related to meditation was carried out on PubMed, Embase and PsycInfo. Results: In the case presented a diagnosis of acute polymorphic psychotic disorder was made. Other ̅case reports dealt with either a relapse of a pre-existent psychotic disorder or with a brief psychotic reaction in patients without a psychiatric history. Conclusion:Meditation can act as a stressor in vulnerable patients who may develop a transient psychosis with polymorphic symptomatology. The syndrome is not culture bound but sometimes classified in culture-bound taxonomies like Qi-gong Psychotic Reaction.