Euphoria (pron.: //; from Ancient Greek εὐφορία, from εὖ eu, "well", and φέρω pherō, "to bear") (semantically opposite of dysphoria) is medically recognized as a mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy. Technically, euphoria is an affect, but the term is often colloquially used to define emotion as an intense state of transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of contentment. It has also been defined as an "affective state of exaggerated well-being or elation." The word derives from Greek εὐφορία, "power of enduring easily, fertility".
Euphoria is generally considered to be an exaggerated physical and psychological state, sometimes induced by the use of psychoactive drugs and not typically achieved during the normal course of human experience. However, some natural behaviors, such as activities resulting in orgasm, love, or the triumph of an athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria. Euphoria has also been cited during certain religious or spiritual rituals and meditation. Euphoria can also be the result of a psychological disorder. Such disorders include bipolar disorder, cyclothymia and hyperthyroidism and can also result from a head injury. Euphoria may also occur with "diseases affecting the nervous system, such as syphilis and multiple sclerosis."
The notion that "contentment and joy are states demanding a persistent and active engagement...has now largely disappeared." "With the advent of Christianity..., a more passive view of the self and its emotions has emerged", in which euphoria is defined as a "state which overwhelms the personality". William James stated that with euphoria, "the will to assert ourselves and hold our own has been displaced by a willingness to hold our mouths and be as nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God.". James offered his own explanation for this connection between euphoria and passivity, arguing that the emotion emerged only when the self gave up its struggle with the world and instead surrendered to the uprushes of the subconscious life. Euphoria is subjective in nature.
Using PET scans and a mood questionnaire, a study showed that runners exhibited high levels of endorphins binding to opioid receptors within several regions of the brain, mostly frontal regions involved with positive emotions. This analysis also showed that the subjective euphoric level of an individual runner directly corresponded with the amount of endorphin activity that occurred within the brain. This study didn't prove that endorphin release is the sole cause of euphoric experience caused by exercise, but was at least a greatly contributing factor. Endorphins play a role the reward system which may cause a chemical addiction to consistent exercise.
- Alcohol: "Euphoria, the feeling of well-being, has been reported during the early (10–15 min) phase of alcohol consumption" (e.g., beer, wine or spirits)
- Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) is widely used as a sedative that has calming effects on the nervous system and acts as a sleep aid. One harmala alkaloid present in this herb in the form of harmine is thought to induce meditative and euphoric effects.
- Catnip Catnip contains a sedative known as nepetalactone that activates opioid receptors. In cats it elicits sniffing, licking, chewing, head shaking, rolling, and rubbing which are indicators of pleasure. Catnip does not however, induce the same response in humans.
- Cannabis Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in this plant can have sedative and euphoric properties.
- Stimulants: "Psychomotor stimulants produce locomotor activity (the subject becomes hyperactive), euphoria, (often expressed by excessive talking and garrulous behaviour), and anorexia. The amphetamines are the best known drugs in this category..."
- MDMA: The "euphoriant drugs such as MDMA (‘ecstasy’) and MDEA (‘eve’)" are popular amongst young adults. MDMA "users experience short-term feelings of euphoria, rushes of energy and increased tactility."
- Opium: This "drug derived from the unripe seed-pods of the opium poppy...produces drowsiness and euphoria and reduces pain. Morphine and codeine are opium derivatives."
In bipolar disorder 
While most people would consider euphoria to be purely benevolent, it can be problematic in individuals with bipolar disorder who experience phases of depression and mania. In a manic episode the patient acquires a state of euphoria, sometimes causing potentially dangerous actions to occur. The use of lithium is effective in balancing his or her mood by decreasing the euphoria one will feel from manic episodes, but will not interfere with euphoria induced by morphine.
"Elation of mood, besides being less common is also harder to assess quantitatively than depression, and is difficult to distinguish from normal (in the sense of healthy) good spirits. Usually, it is only if elation or euphoria is accompanied by lack of judgment, over-activity and some disturbance of thought, that it is considered pathological."
As a symptom 
Euphoria is a prominent symptom of hypoxia, effectively preventing sufferers from recognizing their hypoxic state.
Music euphoria 
Music euphoria is a euphoric state in which the individual is abnormally enchanted by music. In this state of mind, music leads the subject into a trance; they may have sensations of flying or spinning. The individual may also start to see or feel sound. Also, this euphoria may lead to an urge to dance. This state is particularly known to be induced by cannabis, MDMA, and psychedelic drugs in general. Some research suggests that it's possible to represent this subjective state by brainwaves recorded using EEG scans.
See also 
|Look up euphoria in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Lucid Dream
- Religious ecstasy
- Soma (in mythology)
- Recreational drug use
- Out of body experience (OBE)
Notes and references 
- Euphoria - RightDiagnosis.com
- "Key DSM-IV Mental Status Exam Phrases". Gateway Psychiatric Services. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- A Dictionary of Psychology in Politics & Social Sciences) Oxford
- Euphoria, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- "Psychophysical Correlates of the Practice of Tantric Yoga Meditation". Corby, Roth, Zarcone, & Kopell. Archives of General Hackett, 1978.
- "Euphoria". Wrong Diagnosis. Health Grades Inc. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
- 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
- Methamphetamine | InfoFacts | The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Hockenbury, Don, Sandra (2011). Discovering Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-4292-1650-0.
- Boecker, Henning; , Sprenger, Spilker, Henriksen, Koppenhoefer, Wagner, Valet, Berthele, Tolle (21). "The Runner's High: Opioidergic Mechanisms in the Human Brain". Oxford Journals 18 (11): 2523–2531. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Christopher J. Morgan and Abdulla A.-B. Badawy. "Alcohol-induced euphoria: exclusion of serotonin." Alcohol and Alcoholism (2001) 36 (1): 22-25.
- Cotter, Malik. "Herbs Make It Easy to Catch Some Zs". Nutrition Science News. Penton Media. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Foster, Steven (2002). A field guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 58.
- 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
- "ecstasy" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
- "opium" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 28 July 2011
- Jasinski, DR; Nutt, Haertzen, Griffith, Bunney (11). "Lithium: effects on subjective functioning and morphine-induced euphoria". Sciencemag 195: 582–584. doi:10.1126/science.319532. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Foulds, G.A.; and A. Bedford. "Euphoria, Elation and Impunitiveness". Journal of Clinical Psychology. July 1976, vol. 32, no. 3, p. 606-609.
Further reading 
- Galazka, Kasia. "How Glee Makes You Glow". Psychology Today; Nov/Dec2010, Vol. 43 Issue 6, p22-22.