Meditation-induced psychosis

Psychopathology. 2007;40(6):461-4. doi: 10.1159/000108125. Epub 2007 Sep 11.


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / ethnology
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Syndrome