Attenuation of anticipation: a therapeutic use
of lysergic acid diethylamide
By E. Kast
Journal of Psychiatric Quarterly, 1967
Reviewed by Alex Pearlstein
In this Study Dr. Kast looks at the defense mechanism that terminally ill
patience use when faced with their mortality and imminent death.
He felt that through the psychedelic experience he could help reduce this
anticipation of death and help to create a feeling of place and serenity within life.
Dr. Kast has taken a very existential view towards life, the human condition
and the treatment of the terminally ill.
He depicts the human condition to be that of a driven goal orientated
We gauge our life by where we feel we should or will be and how close we are
to this point. So a person deemed terminally ill sees that the end of their path
is death, as it is for all of us, but with no other positive moments between
the future and now. So his hypothesis is that LSD can be used like a pause
button, and can give the patient time to step of this path and look at the
world without goals and objectives.
He feels there are four main factors that make LSD a healing drug
situations. First, the increase in sensory input stops the patient from fixating
on and one influence on his being. Then the second factor is the ability for
the being to relax and look at "minor sensations". These are the influences
we tend to ignore in our lives for they do not adhere to maslow's hierarchy.
Like finally stopping and taking the time to smell the roses. Thirdly, LSD
affects the cortical controls of thought and reason. So ideas like pain and
death hold less value and can reduce their depression and disposition.
Finally, LSD affects the self centeredness of the ego. It allows
separate the ideas of mind and body. This removal of the negative
connotations of the body in turn helps to heal and strengthen the spirit.
It allows them to look into themselves to see who they are rather then to
look at themselves, as if the reflection in a mirror, and only see the sickness
During this course of testing it was recorded that pain and worries
we decreased. Also, these patients found sleep easier. The data recorded
from the 128 patients showed that those who were treated with LSD reflected
that it did contain analgesic qualities.
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