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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 23 (1981) 10, 627 - 637

Short report

A possible role for endorphins in the pathophysiology of psychogenic pain and other neurotic suffering

J.J. van Egmond

The aim of this article is to offer some speculation on whether further development of endorphin research shall provide a biological correlate for neurotic suffering. This question is answered for one neurotic disturbance specifically, namely psychogenic pain. The finding of supernormal liquor enkephalin activity in CSF in the case of psychogenic pain by Terenius et al. is reviewed. In addition to a positive correlation between supernormal liquor endorphin activity and psychogenic pain, there also seems to exist such a correlation between high enkephalin activity and neuroticism in general. It is argued that some aspects of neurosis can be connected to tolerance and dependence for one's own opiates. The method for testing such a hypothesis follows. Anyhow, it seems that liquor enkephalin activity is a biological parameter of neurotic suffering.