Euphoria

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Euphoria (from Ancient Greek εὐφορία, from εὖ (eu), "well", and φέρω (pherō), "to bear") is a mental and emotional condition which makes a person feel extremely happy, excited, and carefree[1]. These feelings are much stronger and more intense than what a human would normally feel. However, some natural human behaviors can cause brief states of euphoria. For example, people may feel euphoric for a short time after orgasm, when in love, or after a very important athletic achievement[2]. Sometimes, people can also feel euphoria during certain religious or spiritual rituals, or while meditating[3]. More often, euphoria is caused by certain psychoactive drugs, mental illnesses, or medical problems. Euphoria is the opposite of dysphoria.

Causes[change | edit source]

Drugs[change | edit source]

Euphoria can be caused by psychoactive drugs like cocaine and alcohol.

Some of the drugs that can cause euphoria are:

  • Alcohol: People may feel euphoria soon after they begin drinking alcohol (especially in the first 10-15 minutes after they begin to drink)[4].
  • Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata): A sedative that calms the nervous system and acts as a sleep aid. One compound in this herb, called harmine, may cause euphoria[5].
  • Stimulants: Stimulant drugs can cause euphoria as well as high energy, hyperactivity, and lack of appetite. There are different types of stimulants. Amphetamines (including methamphetamine) are the best known drugs in this category[6].
  • MDMA: Commonly called Ecstasy, MDMA causes strong feelings of euphoria as well as rushes of energy. MDMA and MDEA ("Eve") are popular drugs among young adults[7][8].
  • Opium: A drug made from the unripe seed-pods of the opium poppy. It can cause euphoria and drowsiness, and can decrease pain. Heroin, morphine, and codeine are made from opium.[9]


Mental Illness[change | edit source]

Euphoria can be a symptom of some mental illnesses. For example, euphoria is a common symptom of mania, an extreme, high-energy mood state which can happen with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions.


Medical Illness[change | edit source]

Euphoria can also be a symptom of some medical problems. It is a common symptom of hypoxia. It is a dangerous symptom, because it can make a hypoxic person may feel so good and carefree that he does not realize that he is not getting enough oxygen.

Euphoria can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism. It can also be caused by head injuries or conditions which affect the central nervous system, like syphilis and multiple sclerosis[7].


Exercise[change | edit source]

Sometimes, people feel euphoria when exercising. A well-known example is "runner's high," a state of euphoria and high energy that runners sometimes experience, especially during intense workouts. According to recent studies, intense exercise can cause the brain to release endorphins. These endorphins attach to the same brain receptors as opioid drugs, so they can cause the same euphoric effects as those drugs do[10]. Unfortunately, this means that a person could get chemically addicted to consistent exercise, just as he or she might get addicted to opiates.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Euphoria - RightDiagnosis.com
  2. "Key DSM-IV Mental Status Exam Phrases". Gateway Psychiatric Services. 2007-05-10. http://www.gatewaypsychiatric.com/key-dsm-iv-mental-status-exam-phrases. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
  3. "Psychophysical Correlates of the Practice of Tantric Yoga Meditation". Corby, Roth, Zarcone, & Kopell. Archives of General Hackett, 1978.
  4. Christopher J. Morgan and Abdulla A.-B. Badawy. "Alcohol-induced euphoria: exclusion of serotonin." Alcohol and Alcoholism (2001) 36 (1): 22-25.
  5. Cotter, Malik. "Herbs Make It Easy to Catch Some Zs". Nutrition Science News. Penton Media. http://www.newhope.com/nutritionsciencenews/nsn_backs/nov_99/understandingherbs.cfm. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  6. Alan W. Cuthbert "stimulants" The Oxford Companion to the Body. Ed. Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennett. Oxford University Press, 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rhodri Hayward "euphoria" The Oxford Companion to the Body. Ed. Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennett. Oxford University Press, 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
  8. "ecstasy" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
  9. "opium" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
  10. Hockenbury, Don, Sandra (2011). Discovering Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers. pp. 54. ISBN 978-1-4292-1650-0.