Although it has been claimed that meditation does help in several ways, I have read on the Internet that there are cases where psychotic episodes, schizophrenia and suicide tendencies arise after meditation retreats.
Where I have read that this has happened is in Goenka's Vipassana retreats, which are 10 days long retreats. In particular, the only way to start at Goenka's retreats is first with a 10 days retreat.
I did one of those retreats without any unhealthy consequences, but I do confess that during the retreat I was kind of 'watching' myself to avoid any unhealthy episode.
- Is there any explanation to this unhealthy responses to meditation retreats?
- Is it clear why this happens?
- Is there any way to minimize chances to get that wrong ?
In articles of Vipassana Research Institute it is kind of stated that the main source of this problems is that meditators have tried 'other traditions'. Is this a credible scientific answer?
Some references I found on the web:
- Mental Health and Intensive Meditation Retreats
- Meditation-Induced Psychosis
- For Whom May Participation in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program be Contraindicated?
- Psychiatric Complications of Meditation Practice
- Terrible and Traumatic Experience at Goenka Retreat This one is quite an informal blog. I have found that it is frequently cited.
- The Potential Downside To Vipassana. Again, an informal blog.