Proposal to Prevent Alcohol Dependence Using Purpose in Life/Ikigai to Mimic the Chemical Effects of β-Endorphin


Purpose in life (PIL)/ikigai is a social attitude based on the concept that, “every person has a need to establish meaning in life”. Comfort and pleasure are related to the secretion of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and β-endorphin. Drinking alcohol can also trigger emotions and cause the secretion of β-endorphin. Persons, who have an inner sense of satisfaction, do not need or want to induce comfort and pleasure by using alcohol or morphine. The primary chemical structures of β-endorphin and morphine are similar. Therefore, it is possible that helping people to achieve PIL/ikigai could strengthen psychological and/or physical defenses against alcohol dependence.

Share and Cite:

Ishida, R. (2012). Proposal to Prevent Alcohol Dependence Using Purpose in Life/Ikigai to Mimic the Chemical Effects of β-Endorphin. Psychology, 3, 534-536. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.37078.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Boning, J. (2009). Addiction memory as a specific, individually learned memory imprint. Pharmacopsychiatry, 42, 66-68. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1216357
[2] Brodal, P. (1998). The central nervous system (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
[3] Brown, M., Keynes, R., & Lumsden, A. (2001). The developing brain. New York: Oxford University Press.
[4] Cannon, W. B. (1939). The wisdom of the body. New York: WW Norton and Company.
[5] Chaouloff, F. (1989). Physical exercise and brain monoamines: A re- view. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 137, 1-13. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1716.1989.tb08715.x
[6] Comings, D. E., & Blum, K. (2000). Reward deficiency syndrome: Genetic aspects of behavioral disorders. Progress in Brain Research, 126, 325-341. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(00)26022-6
[7] Costa-Pinto, F. A., & Palemo-Neto, J. (2010). Neuroimmune inter- actions in stress. Neuroimmunomodulation, 17, 196-199. doi:10.1159/000258722
[8] Crumbaugh, J. C., & Maholick, L. T. (1964). An experimental study in existentialism: The psychometric approach to Frankl’s concept of noogenic neurosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20, 200-207. doi:10.1002/1097-4679(196404)20:2<200::AID-JCLP2270200203>3.0.CO;2-U
[9] Dalayeun, J. F., Norès, J. M., & Bergal, S. (1993). Physiology of beta- endorphins: A close-up view and a review of the literature. Bio- medicine & Pharmacotherapy, 47, 311-320. doi:10.1016/0753-3322(93)90080-5
[10] Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.95.3.542
[11] Dragon, N., Seidah, N. G., Lis, M., Routhier, R., & Chrétien, M. (1977). Primary structure and morphine-like activity of human beta-end- orphin. Canadian Journal of Biochemistry, 55, 666-670. doi:10.1139/o77-096
[12] Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2010). The neurobiology of stress man- agement. Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 31, 19-39.
[13] Gianoulakis, C., Krishnan, B., & Thavundayil, J. (1996). Enhanced sensitivity of pituitary beta-endorphin to ethanol in subjects at high risk of alcoholism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 250-257. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830030072011
[14] Ishida, R. (2008). Correlation between social desirability and auto- nomic nervous function under goal-oriented stress (mental arithmetic) with consideration of parental attitudes. The Autonomic Nervous System (Tokyo), 45, 242-249 (in Japanese).
[15] Ishida, R. (2011). Enormous earthquake in Japan: Coping with stress using purpose in life/ikigai. Psychology, 2, 773-776. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.28118
[16] Ishida, R. (2012). Purpose in life (ikigai), a frontal lobe function, is a natural and mentally healthy way to cope with stress. Psychology, 3, 272-276. doi:10.4236/psych.2012.33038
[17] Ishida, R., Okada, M., & Bando, T. (2004). Relation between level of purpose-in-life and the autonomic nervous function under a mental stress. Niigata Igakkai Zasshi, 118, 333-339 (in Japanese).
[18] Kraut, R. (1979). Two conception of happiness. The Philosophical Re- view, 88, 167-107. doi:10.2307/2184505
[19] Levinthal, C. F. (1988). Messengers of paradise: Opiates and the brain. New York: Doubleday.
[20] Lu, L., Gilmour, R., Kao, S. F., Weng, T. H., Hu, C. H., Chem, J. G., Huang, S. E., & Shin, J. B. (2001). Two ways to achieve happiness: When the East meets the West. Personality and Individual Differ- ences, 30, 1161-1174. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(00)00100-8
[21] Mathon, D. S., Kamal, A., Smidt, M. P., & Ramakers, G. M. (2003). Modulation of cellular activity and synaptic transmission in the ventral tegmental area. European Journal of Pharmacology, 480, 97-115. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2003.08.097
[22] Masaoka, Y., Onaka, Y., Shimizu, Y., Sakurai, S., & Homma, I. (2007). State anxiety dependent on perspiration during mental stress and deep inspiration. The Journal of Physiological Sciences, 57, 121-126. doi:10.2170/physiolsci.RP000607
[23] Morales-Mulia, M., De Gortari, P., Amaya, M. I., & Méndez, M. (2012). Activity and expression of enkephalinase and aminopepti- dase N in regions of the mesocorticolimbic system are selectively modified by acute ethanol administration. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience: MN, 46, 58-67. doi:10.1007/s12031-011-9623-2
[24] Nagai, M., Wada, M., & Sunaga, N. (2002). Trait anxiety affects the papillary light reflex in college students. Neuroscience Letters, 328, 68-70. doi:10.1016/S0304-3940(02)00373-7
[25] Nakata, Y. (2006). Nounai-bussitsu kara nani wo manabuka? In: NPO Hojin Nou no seiki suisin kaigi (Eds.), Kokoro no yamai/Nou no yamai (pp.29-46). Tokyo: Kubapuro (in Japanese).
[26] Peele, S. (1990-1991). What works in addiction treatment and what doesn’t: Is the best therapy no therapy? The International Journal of the Addictions, 25, 1409-1419.
[27] Pollatos, O., Werner, N. S., Duscheck, S., Schandry, R., Matthias, E., Traut-Mattausch, E., & Herbert, B. M. (2011). Differential effects of alexithymia subscales on autonomic reactivity and anxiety social stress. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 70, 525-533. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.12.003
[28] Sato, F., & Tanaka, H. (1974). An experimental study on the existential aspect of life (Part I): The cross-cultural approach to purpose in life. Tohoku Psychologica Folia, 33, 20-46.
[29] Selye, H. (1936). A syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature, 138, 32. doi:10.1038/138032a0
[30] Selye, H. (1973). The evolution of the stress concept. American Psy- chologist, 61, 692-699.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.