Psychopharmacology

, Volume 235, Issue 2, pp 547–550 | Cite as

Psychedelics and connectedness

  • R. L. Carhart-Harris
  • D. Erritzoe
  • E. Haijen
  • M. Kaelen
  • R. Watts
Commentary

Abstract

Psychedelic drugs are creating ripples in psychiatry as evidence accumulates of their therapeutic potential. An important question remains unresolved however: how are psychedelics effective? We propose that a sense of connectedness is key, provide some preliminary evidence to support this, and suggest a roadmap for testing it further.

Notes

Acknowledgements

RLC-H is supported by the Alex Mosley Charitable Trust. RW is supported by Compass Pathways.

Author contributions

RW conceived of the notion and importance of connectedness through her follow-up to our recent psilocybin for TRD trial. RCH wrote this paper with feedback from RW, DE and MK. MK and EH provided the data for Fig. 1, and EH made the figure. DE provided intellectual input regarding the central construct plus editorial advice. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Barrett FS, Johnson MW, Griffiths RR (2015) Validation of the revised mystical experience questionnaire in experimental sessions with psilocybin. J Psychopharmacol 29:1182–1190CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Belser AB, Agin-Liebes G, Swift CT, Terrana S, Devenot N, Friedman LH, Guss J, Bossis A, Ross S (2017) Patient experiences of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. J Humanist Psychol 57(4):354–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carhart-Harris RL, Goodwin GM (2017) The therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs: past, present and future. Neuropsychopharmacology. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.84
  4. Carhart-Harris RL, Nutt DJ (2017) Serotonin and brain function: a tale of two receptors. J Psychopharmacol (in press)Google Scholar
  5. Carhart-Harris RL, Leech R, Hellyer PJ et al (2014) The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Front Hum Neurosci 8:20CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Carhart-Harris RL, Bolstridge M, Rucker J et al (2016) Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study. Lancet Psychiatry 3:619–627CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Carrillo FSDF, Sigman M, Ashton P, Fitzgerald L, Stroud J, Carhart-Harris RL (2017) Natural speech predicts therapeutic effectiveness of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. J Affect Disord (in press)Google Scholar
  8. Cervinka R, Roderer K, Hefler E (2012) Are nature lovers happy? On various indicators of well-being and connectedness with nature. J Health Psychol 17:379–388CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Forstmann M, Sagioglou C (2017) Lifetime experience with (classic) psychedelics predicts pro-environmental behavior through an increase in nature relatedness. J Psychopharmacol 31(8):975–988Google Scholar
  10. Griffiths RR, Richards WA, McCann U et al (2006) Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology 187:268–283 discussion 284-292 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Karp DA (2017) Speaking of sadness: depression, disconnection, and the meanings of illness, Oxford. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Leamy M, Bird V, Le Boutillier C et al (2011) Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis. Br J Psychiatry 199:445–452CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Lee RM, Robbins SB (1995) Measuring belongingness—the social connectedness and the social assurance scales. J Couns Psychol 42:232–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee RM, Dean BL, Jung KR (2008) Social connectedness, extraversion, and subjective well-being: testing a mediation model. Personal Individ Differ 45:414–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mayer FS, Frantz CM (2004) The connectedness to nature scale: a measure of individuals’ feeling in community with nature. J Environ Psychol 24:503–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nour MM, Evans L, Nutt D et al (2016) Ego-dissolution and psychedelics: validation of the ego-dissolution inventory (EDI). Front Hum Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00269
  17. Nour MM, Evans L and Carhart-Harris RL. (2017) Psychedelics, personality and political perspectives. J Psychoactive Drugs: 1–10Google Scholar
  18. Piff PK, Dietze P, Feinberg M et al (2015) Awe, the small self, and prosocial behavior. J Pers Soc Psychol 108:883–899CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Poldrack RA (2006) Can cognitive processes be inferred from neuroimaging data? Trends Cogn Sci 10:59–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Racine E, Waldman S, Rosenberg J et al (2010) Contemporary neuroscience in the media. Soc Sci Med 71:725–733CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Richards WA (2015) Sacred knowledge: psychedelics and religious experiences. Columbia University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tagliazucchi E, Roseman L, Kaelen M et al (2016) Increased global functional connectivity correlates with LSD-induced ego dissolution. Curr Biol 26:1043–1050CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Tennant R, Hiller L, Fishwick R et al (2007) The Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (WEMWBS): development and UK validation. Health Qual Life Outcomes 5:63CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Watts RDC, Krzanowski J, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris RL (2017) Patients’ accounts of increased ‘connection’ and ‘acceptance’ after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. J Humanist Psychol. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00269
  25. Wayment HA, Bauer JJ, Sylaska K, et al. (2015) The quiet ego scale: measuring the compassionate self-identity. J Happiness Stud. 16pp Google Scholar
  26. White F (1987) The overview effect: space exploration and human evolution. Houghton Mifflin, BostonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Carhart-Harris
    • 1
  • D. Erritzoe
    • 1
  • E. Haijen
    • 1
  • M. Kaelen
    • 1
  • R. Watts
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychedelic Research Group, Centre for Psychiatry, Department of MedicineImperial College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations