Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Endogenous Opioids/Endorphins/Enkephalin

  • James A. McCubbinEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_247-2



Endogenous opioids are neuropeptides with morphine-like activity that are naturally synthesized within the body. These neuropeptides have widespread distribution throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, and various endocrine and other tissues. Opioids function as neurotransmitters and hormones, with a wide variety of biobehavioral effects in health and disease. Their effects on physiological and psychological responses to intense aversive and appetitive stimuli suggest potentially important roles in the etiology and treatment of self-regulatory disorders of appetite, affect, and adaptation to stress.


Classification of Opioid Peptides and Receptors

Endogenous opioids systems include several different neuroactive peptides that are linked, in turn, to a matrix of distinctive receptor systems. The opioid peptides are divided into basic...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Bruehl, S., McCubbin, J. A., & Harden, R. N. (1999). Theoretical review: Altered pain regulatory systems in chronic pain. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 23, 877–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Koob, G. F., & Le Moal, M. (1997). Drug abuse: Hedonic homeostatic dysregulation. Science, 278, 52–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. McCubbin, J. A. (1993). Stress and endogenous opioids: Behavioral and circulatory interactions. Biological Psychology, 35(2), 91–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. McCubbin, J. A., Wilson, J. F., Bruehl, S., Ibarra, P., Carlson, C. R., Norton, J. A., et al. (1996). Relaxation training and opioid inhibition of blood pressure response to stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(3), 593–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Merenlender-Wagner, A., Dikshtein, Y., & Yadid, G. (2009). The beta-endorphin role in stress-related psychiatric disorders. Current Drug Targets, 10(11), 1096–1108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Reece, A. S. (2011). Hypothalamic opioid-melanocortin appetitive balance and addictive craving. Medical Hypotheses, 76(1), 132–137.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2010.09.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mustafa al’Absi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolDuluthUSA