Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Any of several chemicals secreted by the pituitary gland; these serve to mitigate the effects of pain during stress. Endorphins act to modify the dopamine pathway to the frontal lobes; they attach to the morphine receptor. High concentrations of dopamine produce a sensation of well-being or euphoria. Endorphin is a contraction of endogenous morphine.

Cf. enkephalin.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"