Sunjeev K Kamboj

Sunjeev K Kamboj
University College London | UCL · Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology

PhD

About

92
Publications
19,935
Reads
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3,590
Citations
Introduction
Human psychopharmacology, experimental psychopathology, addiction, traumatic stress and anxiety disorders. Registered Clinical Psychologist (UK HCPC) and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (BABCP). Professor of Translational Clinical Psychology
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - July 2021
University College London
Position
  • Professor
March 2010 - present
CNWL Foundation NHS Trust
Position
  • Senior Associate Tutor in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
March 2005 - present
University College London
Education
December 2013 - September 2018
University of Aberdeen
Field of study
  • Mindfulness
September 2004 - September 2007
University College London
Field of study
  • Applied/Clinical Hypnosis
September 2000 - September 2003
University College London
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) produces diverse pro-social effects. Cognitive training methods rooted in Eastern contemplative practices also produce these effects through the development of a compassionate mindset. Given this similarity, we propose that one potential mechanism of action of MDMA in psychotherapy is through enhancing...
Article
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Background: Like other complex psychosocial interventions, mindfulness-based treatments comprise various modality specific components as well as nonspecific therapeutic ingredients that collectively contribute to efficacy. Consequently, the isolated effects of mindfulness strategies per se remain unclear. Methods: Using a randomized double-blind de...
Article
Full-text available
3,4-Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA;‘ecstasy’) produces prosocial subjective effects that may extend to affiliative feelings towards the self. Behavioural techniques can produce similar self-directed affiliation. For example, compassionate imagery (CI) and ecstasy reduce self-criticism and increase self-compassion to a similar extent, with th...
Article
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Background: Mindfulness-meditation has a variety of benefits on well-being. However, individuals with primary attentional impairments (e.g. attention deficit disorder) or attentional symptoms secondary to anxiety, depression or addiction, may be less likely to benefit, and require additional mindfulness-augmenting strategies. Aims: To determine whe...
Article
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Binge eating is increasingly prevalent among adolescents and young adults and can have a lasting harmful impact on mental and physical health. Mechanistic insights suggest that aberrant reward-learning and biased cognitive processing may be involved in the aetiology of binge eating. We therefore investigated whether recently developed approaches to...
Article
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Background Negative emotions can promote smoking relapse during a quit attempt. The use of cognitive reappraisal to self-regulate these emotions may therefore aid smoking cessation. Determining whether smokers exhibit difficulties in the use of reappraisal, and which factors are associated with such difficulties, may aid smoking cessations. Method...
Article
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Rationale A significant obstacle to an improved understanding of pathological dissociative and psychosis-like states is the lack of readily implemented pharmacological models of these experiences. Ketamine has dissociative and psychotomimetic effects but can be difficult to use outside of medical and clinical-research facilities. Alternatively, nit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Negative emotions can promote smoking relapse during a quit attempt. The use of cognitive reappraisal to self-regulate these emotions may therefore aid smoking cessation. Determining whether smokers exhibit difficulties in the use of reappraisal, and which factors are associated with such difficulties, may aid smoking cessations.Methods...
Article
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Background: Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an anaesthetic gas with both therapeutic and abuse potential. As an NMDAR antagonist, its effects are expected to resemble those of the prototypical NMDAR antagonist, ketamine. Here, we examine the subjective rewarding effects of N2O using measures previously employed in studies of ketamine. We also test for mode...
Article
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Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many countries applying restrictive measures, such as lockdown, to contain and prevent further spread. The psychological impact of lockdown and working as a healthcare worker on the frontline has been chronicled in studies pertaining to previous infectious disease pandemics that have reported the...
Article
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Background Alcohol use disorders can be conceptualised as a learned pattern of maladaptive alcohol-consumption behaviours. The memories encoding these behaviours centrally contribute to long-term excessive alcohol consumption and are therefore an important therapeutic target. The transient period of memory instability sparked during memory reconsol...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Preprint
Background Alcohol use disorders can be conceptualised as a learned pattern of maladaptive alcohol-consumption behaviours. The memories encoding these behaviours centrally contribute to long-term excessive alcohol consumption and are a key therapeutic target. The transient period of memory instability sparked during memory reconsolidation offers a...
Article
Full-text available
Maladaptive reward memories (MRMs) are involved in the development and maintenance of acquired overconsumption disorders, such as harmful alcohol and drug use. The process of memory reconsolidation - where stored memories become briefly labile upon retrieval - may offer a means to disrupt MRMs and prevent relapse. However, reliable means for pharma...
Article
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Background Maladaptive learning linking environmental food cues to high-palatability food reward plays a central role in overconsumption in obesity and binge eating disorders. The process of memory reconsolidation offers a mechanism to weaken such learning, potentially ameliorating over-eating behaviour. Here we investigated whether putatively inte...
Article
Self-criticism and low self-compassion are implicated in the development and maintenance of binge eating. However, the association between these self-attitudes and binge eating symptoms remains unclear. Women with symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa (BN) or Binge Eating Disorder (BED) were randomised to either a self-compassion (n = 30) or self-critical ru...
Article
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Background Pharmacological treatments targeting the neuroendocrine stress response may hold special promise in secondary prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, findings from clinical trials have been inconsistent and the efficacy of specific drugs, their temporal window of efficacy, effective doses and the characteristics of l...
Article
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Rationale There are no recent reports summarising the magnitude of prospective memory (PM) impairments in recreational drug users. Objective We performed a meta-analysis of studies (with a parallel group design) examining PM performance in users of common recreational drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) who were not intoxicated during testing. S...
Article
Memories are often conceptualized as permanent entities; however, retrieval of memories via stimulus prompts can return them to an active state, which initiates a period of lability before the memories are reconsolidated into long-term storage. Importantly, during this period, memories can be disrupted/altered. A growing body of work has focused on...
Article
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Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance consumption commonly co-occur in victims of sexual assault. Substance consumption can occur pre- andi/or post-assault. Pre-assault substance consumption may have an impact on the subsequent development of PTSD. This review aims to provide an overview of current understanding of the eff...
Article
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Compassion is a complex cognitive, emotional and behavioural process that has important real-world consequences for the self and others. Considering this, it is important to understand how compassion is communicated. The current research investigated the expression and perception of compassion via the face. We generated exemplar images of two compa...
Article
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Background Consolidated memories can undergo enduring modification through retrieval-dependent treatments that modulate reconsolidation. This represents a potentially transformative strategy for weakening or overwriting the maladaptive memories that underlie substance use and anxiety/trauma-related disorders. However, modulation of naturalistic mal...
Article
Weakening drinking-related reward memories by blocking their reconsolidation is a potential novel strategy for treating alcohol use disorders. However, few viable pharmacological options exist for reconsolidation interference in humans. We therefore examined whether the NMDA receptor antagonising gas, Nitrous Oxide (N2O) could reduce drinking by pr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Consolidated memories can undergo enduring modification through retrieval-dependent treatments that modulate reconsolidation. This has been suggested to represent a potentially transformative clinical strategy for weakening or overwriting the maladaptive memories that underlie substance use and anxiety/trauma-related disorders. However, the ability...
Article
Research suggests that daily cannabis users have impaired memory for past events, but it is not clear whether they are also impaired in prospective memory (PM) for future events. The present study examined PM in daily cannabis users who were either dependent (n = 18) or non-dependent (n = 18), and compared them with non-using controls (n = 18). The...
Article
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The psychological flexibility model (PFM) provides a framework for understanding and treating behavioural dysregulation in addictions. Rather than modulating the intensity of subjective experience, interventions based on, or consistent with, the PFM (PFM interventions) seek to alter the individual’s relationship to internal states, such as craving,...
Article
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Maladaptive reward memories (MRMs) can become unstable following retrieval under certain conditions, allowing their modification by subsequent new learning. However, robust (well-rehearsed) and chronologically old MRMs, such as those underlying substance use disorders, do not destabilize easily when retrieved. A key determinate of memory destabiliz...
Article
Objectives Drug related mental imagery is proposed to play a central role in addictive behaviour. However, little is known about such cognition or how it is pharmacologically modulated. Here, we test theoretical predictions of the ‘elaborated intrusion’ theory by comparing neutral with alcohol related mental imagery, and examine the effects of low...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: Like other complex psychosocial interventions, mindfulness-based treatments comprise various modality-specific components as well as nonspecific therapeutic ingredients that collectively contribute to efficacy. Consequently, the isolated effects of mindfulness strategies per se remain unclear. METHODS: Using a randomized double-blind de...
Article
The psychological flexibility model (PFM) provides a framework for understanding and treating behavioural dysregulation in addictions. Rather than modulating the intensity of subjective experience, interventions based on, or consistent with, the PFM (PFM interventions) seek to alter the individual’s relationship to internal states, such as craving,...
Article
Tobacco use disorder is the leading cause of avoidable morbidity and mortality globally. To reduce the enormous personal , social, and health care costs associated with smoking-related diseases, there is a pressing need for innovation in the smoking cessation field. Existing therapies have limited long-term efficacy, 1 perhaps because they fail to...
Article
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The strategic or deliberate adoption of a cognitively distanced, third-person perspective is proposed to adaptively regulate emotions. However, studies of psychological disorders suggest spontaneous adoption of a third-person perspective reflects counter-productive avoidance. Here, we review studies that investigate the deliberate adoption of a thi...
Article
Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are crucial and often complementary tools in mental health care. However, efficacy studies have been heavily dominated by pharmacotherapy. Given that both approaches are comparably effective for treating a range of disorders,1 there is an urgent need to promote investment in psychotherapy research. Furthermore, com...
Article
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Background Healthy people with a family history of alcohol problems show a pattern of subjective responses to alcohol that resemble those of affected probands. Studies on ketamine suggest that an up-regulation of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptors (NMDARs) underlies these effects and point to a pharmacologically-responsive endophenotype reflecting enha...
Article
Aims: Defensiveness in response to threatening health information related to excessive alcohol consumption prevents appropriate behaviour change. Alternatively, self-affirmation may improve cognitive-affective processing of threatening information, thus contributing to successful self-regulation. Methods: Effects of an online self-affirmation pr...
Article
Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves maladaptive long-term memory formation which underlies involuntary intrusive thoughts about the trauma. Preventing the development of such maladaptive memory is a key aim in preventing the development of PTSD. We examined whether the N-methyl d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist gas nit...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Addiction is a disorder of motivational learning and memory. Maladaptive motivational memories linking drug-associated stimuli to drug seeking are formed over hundreds of reinforcement trials and accompanied by aberrant neuroadaptation in the mesocorticolimbic reward system. Such memories are resistant to extinction. However, the discover...
Article
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Background Recent research suggests that alcohol acutely impairs prospective memory (PM), and this impairment can be overcome using a strategy called ‘future event simulation’ (FES). Impairment in event-based PM found in detoxifying alcohol-dependent participants is reversed through FES. However, the impact of the most common problematic drinking p...
Article
The transient period of memory instability that can be triggered when memories are retrieved under certain conditions offers an opportunity to modify the maladaptive memories at the heart of substance use disorders (SUDs). However, very well-learned memories (such as those in excessive drinking and alcohol use disorders) are resistant to destabilis...
Article
Full-text available
Preclinical reconsolidation research offers the first realistic opportunity to pharmacologically weaken the maladaptive memory structures that support relapse in drug addicts. N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonism is a highly effective means of blocking drug memory reconsolidation. However, no research using this approach exists in human...
Article
Full-text available
Subtle changes in social cognition are associated with naturalistic fluctuations in estrogens and progesterone over the course of the menstrual cycle. Using a dynamic emotion recognition task we aimed to provide a comprehensive description of the association between ovarian hormone levels and emotion recognition performance using a variety of perfo...
Article
Bowel and bladder obsession [bowel/bladder-control anxiety (BBCA)] is a viscerally centered phobic syndrome involving a specific concern about losing control of bowel or bladder functioning in a public place. Like other anxiety disorders, BBCA is characterized by intrusive imagery. We have previously described the nature of intrusive mental imagery...
Article
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Breastfeeding is a dynamic biological and social process based on hormonal regulation involving oxytocin. While there is much work on the role of breastfeeding in infant development and on the role of oxytocin in socio-emotional functioning in adults, little is known about how breastfeeding impacts emotion perception during motherhood. We therefore...
Article
Background The effects of opioid medication on cognitive functioning in patients with cancer and non-cancer pain remain unclear.Method In this mechanistic randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of patients (n = 20) receiving sustained-release and immediate-release opioid medication as part of their palliative care, we examin...
Article
Background Men and women show differences in performance on emotional processing tasks. Sex also interacts with personality traits to affect information processing. Here we examine effects of sex, and two personality traits that are differentially expressed in men and women - instrumentality and communality - on voluntary and involuntary memory for...
Article
Most people can remember a time when they have been desperate to use the toilet and found one just in the nick of time. But imagine having this experience routinely, every time you went out. This kind of experience can create a tendency to experience unhelpful thoughts like “I need to get out of here or I will wet myself” and a general preoccupatio...
Article
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When addicted individuals are exposed to drug-related stimuli, dopamine release is thought to mediate incentive salience attribution, increasing attentional bias, craving and drug seeking. It is unclear whether dopamine acts specifically on drug cues versus other rewards, and if these effects correspond with craving and other forms of cognitive bia...
Article
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Background: People with anxiety disorders occasionally report fears about losing control of basic bodily functions in public. These anxieties often occur in the absence of physical disorder and have previously been recognized as "obsessive" anxieties reflecting a preoccupation with loss of bowel/bladder control. Motivated by our observations of th...
Article
Psychological disorders characterised by intrusive memories are more prevalent in women than men. The biological, social and cognitive processes underlying this gender-difference have yet to be fully elucidated. Some evidence suggests that (fluctuations in) ovarian hormone levels are responsible for altered sensitivity to emotional stimuli during c...
Article
Rationale Whilst Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotomimetic cannabinoid, has been shown to enhance extinction learning in rats, its effects on fear memory in humans have not previously been studied. Objectives We employed a Pavlovian fear-conditioning paradigm in order to assess the effects of CBD on extinction and consolidation. Method Forty-eight p...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Studies of affect recognition can inform our understanding of the interpersonal effects of alcohol and help develop a more complete neuropsychological profile of this drug. Objectives The objective of the study was to examine affect recognition in social drinkers using a novel dynamic affect-recognition task, sampling performance across a...
Article
Treatments based on exposure/response prevention (Exp/RP) produce only modest benefits in substance dependence disorders. However, a new strategy, which has shown promise in animal models of addiction involves combining Exp/RP with extinction-enhancing pharmacological treatments. A prototype of the latter is D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial agonist a...
Article
The crisis resolution/home treatment (CR/HT) model has brought significant reform of acute mental health care in the UK and beyond. The complex issue of conceptualising crisis is, however, overlooked in CR/HT literature. This study aimed to investigate how crisis is understood amongst those working in CR/HT teams. Framework analysis was applied to...