Vipassana on anti-depressants

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Veganforaweek
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Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by Veganforaweek »

Hi everyone,

I could not find a similar thread...while there are plenty on the question of whether antidepressants are intoxicants, it seems there is none discussing the quality of vipassana meditation on anti-depressants. My question is this: is a meditation practice such as vipassana as effective and fruitful in terms of cleaning sankharas or gaining insight, as well as concentration if one is taking antidepressants? Specifically, can one notice sensations (vedana) as well as whitout medication?

On a side note, I do believe, without judgment, that antidepressants are a form of aversion within the buddhist framework, but regardless of my opinion on that, my question about the quality of meditation does not seem to depend on that assumption.

Thanks for any insights on the matter.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by Goofaholix »

Generally it's not recommended. It would be better if you can have a teacher closely monitoring you, or do concentration or metta practice for the time being as these can lift your mood and better prepare you.
“What we call "I" is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.”
― Shunryu Suzuki
befriend
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by befriend »

personally my vipassana before anti depressants was horrible because I had so much negativity in my mind. It is easier for me to do mindfulness now because I have less negative thoughts by taking anti depressants. Just my personal experience whatever helps you is beneficial.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
maniture_85
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by maniture_85 »

I have started to seek for meditation in a very bad period of my life. Depression, anxiety, narcissism, intoxicant abuse, and more.
From what i've learned from meditation, there are two important points
1) Depression is not a fault, but a condition. At a certain point, you will find depression is ultimately the result of what you've lived and how you lived it.
2) You sit just to improve yourself, results will come. Worrying about the quality of meditation can be hugely counterproductive. It's like you start running and you are worried to not be a champion.

I still take intoxicants. Its use is discouraged. From what i've learned, intoxicants may give you some advantages, those MAY be
1) improved sensitivity: it may be the case of psilocybin and antidepressant, as far as i tested them
2) improved equanimity: drugs may give relief to pain, letting you to gain relaxation and contentment, lessening restlessness

Various drugs will have very different results, and it's nothing one should joke with. Buddha discouraged using intoxicants, and IMO it's because it's not a suitable mean for enlightenment on the long run. I think you may get some results depending on your insight qualities and your meditation experience, even by taking anti depressants. But keep in mind some work will have to be done when you stop taking those intoxicants.

Please note that intoxicants in general may generate some strange meditation effects, some of which may be harmful for your mental health. Be very aware of it if you take significant dosages.
I'm reporting my own experience. Others and more experienced meditators may advice differently.
Last edited by maniture_85 on Mon Jan 24, 2022 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
SarathW
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by SarathW »

befriend wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:45 pm personally my vipassana before anti depressants was horrible because I had so much negativity in my mind. It is easier for me to do mindfulness now because I have less negative thoughts by taking anti depressants. Just my personal experience whatever helps you is beneficial.
I have no experience with anti-depression medication but this advice seems sound.
I know few people who overcome depression by taking medication.
It is quite Ok for Buddhists to seek medical assistance when they are ill.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Zachary
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by Zachary »

Hi all,

I practice insight meditation for 7 years now. I do make good progress with anti-depressant. I don’t know if I would had progress further had I not been on anti-depressant.

I think I’m further on the path than the people in my local meditation group. My effort in the meditation practice is a lot bigger than theirs, though.

Greetings Zachary
dharmacorps
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by dharmacorps »

Definitely, people take anti depressants and can meditate with no problem. If this were any kind of an exclusion, many of us wouldn't be here. Be in touch with your doctor and a in-person meditation teacher to be sure. The thing to look out for is if you ever get into a mental space where you are having psychotic symptoms.
tamdrin
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by tamdrin »

Whatever your practice, it will be fine when taking a psychiatric medication if it is for a chemical imbalance. What I mean, is that there is no rule or general advice about not being able to do a spiritual practice because one is on such a medication.
Veganforaweek
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by Veganforaweek »

Does anyone know if taking antidepressant excludes you from sitting a 10-day course (Goenka)?
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Veganforaweek wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:00 pm Does anyone know if taking antidepressant excludes you from sitting a 10-day course (Goenka)?
No, it's fine. They will ask you in the application form but just tell the truth and it's not a problem.
I used to process some applications and we were mostly looking out for people who had severe mental illness.
I remember we asked a guy who had active schizophrenia that he reschedule his course and bring a support person. He brought a friend to look out for him and it ended up being really good.
Strive4Karuna
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by Strive4Karuna »

Veganforaweek wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 7:27 pm Hi everyone,

I could not find a similar thread...while there are plenty on the question of whether antidepressants are intoxicants, it seems there is none discussing the quality of vipassana meditation on anti-depressants. My question is this: is a meditation practice such as vipassana as effective and fruitful in terms of cleaning sankharas or gaining insight, as well as concentration if one is taking antidepressants? Specifically, can one notice sensations (vedana) as well as whitout medication?

On a side note, I do believe, without judgment, that antidepressants are a form of aversion within the buddhist framework, but regardless of my opinion on that, my question about the quality of meditation does not seem to depend on that assumption.

Thanks for any insights on the matter.
Yes absolutely, but tbh depends on how strong the medication is. I have homies taking anti-depressants so strong it makes them fall into delusion.

Always stay on the dhamma, release the anti-depressants when you are confident you can let it go because I GURANTEE if you stay on the path, the anti-depressants will go.

ABSOLUTELY …….VERY GOOD PROGRESS can be made.
danielaboho
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Re: Vipassana on anti-depressants

Post by danielaboho »

I would like to participate in a 10 day vipassana retreat for the first time. Would I be rejected if I am taking antidepressants? I got better, but I am not allowed to simply stop the antidepressants now that I feel good. I have been wanting to do this for about 7 years! Now the timing is right. Wish I am not rejected for this reason.
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