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what are the negative effects of meditation?

what are the negative effects of meditation?

Negative impact of meditation on your healthYou may be more prone to anxiety attacks. Experts have claimed that meditation can provoke anxiety attacks in people. Physical symptoms to watch out for. Researchers tested them on a group of 96 people who had participated in three types of 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy programmes.

The participants represented people who typically seek this type of treatment in the US, mainly middle-aged women seeking to manage mild to severe anxiety, depression and stress. One story in particular led Farias to delve into adverse effects. Louise, a woman in her 50s who had been practising yoga for 20 years, went on a meditation retreat. While meditating, she felt dissociated from herself and became worried.

Dismissing it as a routine side effect of meditation, Louise continued with the exercises. The next day, after returning home, her body felt completely numb and she did not want to get out of bed. Her husband took her to the doctor, who referred her to a psychiatrist. For the next 15 years she was treated for psychotic depression.

For this study, the authors followed 24 current harm-control guidelines to examine meditation-related adverse effects in mindfulness-based programmes. Finding an experienced and recommended teacher, and not being afraid to discuss negative side effects with the teacher or GP, means that you are much more likely to enjoy and benefit from the experience. Meditation can have adverse effects, causing some people to re-experience trauma or have trouble sleeping. Adverse effects related to meditation, with negative impacts on daily functioning, occurred in 37 participants.

Despite the long-term use and evidence-based efficacy of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, data on the possible unintended effects (EU) of these practices are still lacking. Of the 96 participants, 58% reported at least one meditation-related adverse effect, ranging from perpetual hypersensitivity to nightmares or traumatic re-experiencing. Potential side effects are often at the forefront when considering medication for physical or mental illnesses, but the information is less clear for treatments such as meditation, which do not come in pill form. These trigger thoughts can catch people by surprise and cause panic, which of course negates any potential calm that meditation is supposed to bring.

It seems that the spread of mindfulness in the West has been associated with a soft, positive view of the technique, without the necessary balance related to the negative consequences of any practice. In their recent book, The Buddha Pill, psychologists Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm express concern about the lack of research on the adverse effects of meditation and the "dark side of mindfulness". As their research develops, Britton hopes to spread awareness of the possible side effects associated with meditation. Kate Williams, a PhD researcher in psychiatry at the University of Manchester and a lecturer in mindfulness, says that negative experiences tend to fall into one of two categories.

The study also found that the rates of adverse effects of mindfulness are similar to those found in other psychological treatments. Popular media and case studies have recently highlighted the negative side effects of meditation, which increase depression, anxiety and even psychosis or mania, but few studies have looked at the issue in depth in large numbers of people. In some meditation traditions, temporary discomfort, negative thoughts and unusual somatic experiences may be indicative of progress in practice.