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Leap in the air as an expression of exuberant joie de vivre.

Euphoria (Gr. Ευφορία, Latin. Euphoria, euforia ) describes a temporary, subjectively perceived exuberant state of mind. It usually goes hand in hand with general high spirits (also called high feelings ), a feeling of well-being, increased joie de vivre , carefree confidence and optimism .

Euphoric emotional states can occur in many everyday situations (such as being in love or in overcoming stressful situations) or when consuming drugs and as a symptom of illness.

To the subject

Etymologically derived from the Greek “euphoria” , in German “fertility” or “productivity”. The word is derived from “euphoros” (“healthy”), which is made up of “eu” (“good”) and “pherein” (“[he] wear [d]”). The opposite word to euphoria is dysphoria .

In common parlance , euphoria is often used in the sense of passion or enthusiasm . The term euphoria describes a temporary feeling of increased well-being, which, however, in contrast to the hypomanic mood, is often referred to as a state of well-being and superficial cheerfulness.


Doctors also describe subjective well-being in the context of certain illnesses as euphoria. This form of high mood in mania or organically conditioned conditions (e.g. in senile dementia , forehead brain tumors , in progressive paralysis ) and as a result of intoxication is called euphoria.

Psychology and physiology

In psychology, euphoria is a state of intense good feeling, to feel happiness , objectively assessed as sometimes inappropriately elevated mood and an increased drive. The euphoria corresponds to a sustained activity in the nucleus accumbens of the brain. The condition can also be caused by some drugs, such as opiates . Neurochemically, euphoria is triggered by the messenger substances dopamine and / or serotonin . This can also be triggered by alcohol , pharmaceuticals and other drugs.

In sport, extreme physical performance can also cause euphoria after a while. B. is often described by long-distance runners who are physically completely exhausted, the so-called runner's high . The state of euphoria also sets in after extreme situations have been overcome, which can also be simulated, for example during bungee jumping .

Gorilla : Feelings of happiness as an additional incentive support nutrition.

Evolutionary biology

From an evolutionary point of view, living beings have never strived to experience feelings of happiness, but to promote biological survival. Rewards, such as feeling full , were used to help but were not ends in themselves. This has changed in humans. Here the feeling of happiness has detached itself from the original reward for work for the benefit of offspring.

Various techniques are now being used to achieve it as an isolated goal. These include entertainment , status symbols, and drugs . This change has far-reaching consequences through the human ability to experience consciously . The incentive of a good mood as a reward for “something” can now be replaced by the imagination of a feeling of happiness for “nothing” .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Pschyrembel clinical dictionary, Verlag De Gruyter, 267th edition 2017 ( ISBN 978-3-11-049497-6 ). ( Keyword euphoria, online )
  2. Keyword euphoria
  3. KC Berridge, ML Kringelbach: Affective neuroscience of pleasure: reward in humans and animals. In: Psychopharmacology. Volume 199, number 3, August 2008, ISSN  0033-3158 , pp. 457-480, doi : 10.1007 / s00213-008-1099-6 , PMID 18311558 , PMC 3004012 (free full text) (review).
  4. RM Nesse, KC Berridge: Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective. In: Science. Volume 278, Number 5335, October 1997, ISSN  0036-8075 , pp. 63-66, PMID 9311928 .
  5. ^ L. Kováč: The biology of happiness. Chasing pleasure and human destiny. In: EMBO reports. Volume 13, number 4, April 2012, ISSN  1469-3178 , pp. 297-302, doi : 10.1038 / embor.2012.26 , PMID 22410831 , PMC 3321158 (free full text).
  6. KG Lambert: Rising rates of depression in today's society: consideration of the roles of effort-based rewards and enhanced resilience in day-to-day functioning. In: Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. Volume 30, Number 4, 2006, ISSN  0149-7634 , pp. 497-510, doi : 10.1016 / j.neubiorev 2005.09.002 , PMID 16253328 (Review).

Web links

Wiktionary: Euphoria  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations