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July 1978

Endorphins in PsychiatryAn Overview and a Hypothesis

Author Affiliations

From the Testing and Research Laboratory, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Brooklyn, NY (Drs Verebey and Clouet), and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine at the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry, St Louis (Dr Volavka).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(7):877-888. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770310083006

• This article presents an overview of the biochemistry, pharmacology, and physiology of endogenous opioid peptides (endorphins). Clinical psychopharmacology of exogenous opiate agonists and antagonists is reviewed. The evidence presented in the review is compatible with a hypothesis that the level of functional endorphins may be related to psychological events, with a normal level needed for psychological homeostasis. One corollary of this hypothesis is that the level of opioids in the brains of the mentally ill may be disturbed. Therapeutic implications of this hypothesis are considered.