Classic Psychedelics and Rational Suicide in the Elderly: Exploring the Potential Utility of a Reemerging Treatment Paradigm

  • Peter S. Hendricks
  • Charles S. Grob


The objective of the current chapter is to evaluate the potential utility of classic psychedelics including dimethyltryptamine (found in the Amazonian plant decoction ayahuasca), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (found in peyote and other psychoactive cacti), and psilocybin (found in certain mushrooms) in addressing rational suicide among the elderly. An overview of the sociopolitical history of classic psychedelics is presented, followed by an examination of empirical findings pertaining to rational suicide. This chapter concludes that classic psychedelics may counteract rational suicide among the elderly by promoting the perception that life is worth living even in the face of great adversity and encourages future study on this important topic.


Rational suicide Classic psychedelics Classic Hallucinogens Entheogens Dimethyltryptamine Lysergic acid diethylamide Mescaline Psilocybin Ayahuasca Positive psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health BehaviorSchool of Public Health, University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California Los Angeles School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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