What Is a Euphoric Mood?

Smiling woman with closed eyes lying on bed

Westend61 / Getty Images

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

What Is a Euphoric Mood?

Euphoric Mood

A euphoric mood is characterized by feelings of strong happiness, excitement, and well-being. It is an amplified sense of pleasure that can have a number of different causes.

Some causes of euphoric moods are natural and healthy. The thrill and sense of excitement you get on a roller coaster at an amusement park, or the sense of joy and fulfillment you experience after you reach an important goal are both examples of natural euphoric moods.

Natural euphoric moods can sometimes be produced by things such as aerobic exercise, sex, and love. Long-distance runners, for example, describe experiencing what is known as a “runner’s high,” which is characterized by pleasant feelings of euphoria.

But euphoric moods are not always a positive thing. Sometimes feelings of euphoria can be a symptom of a mental health condition. In other instances, people take psychoactive drugs in order to experience the rush of a euphoric mood.

This article discusses the characteristics, types, and causes of euphoric moods. It also covers some of the ways that you can naturally improve your chances of experiencing a euphoric mood.

Signs of a Euphoric Mood

When you are experiencing a euphoric mood, it can feel extremely joyful and pleasurable. When you are in a euphoric state, you may feel safe, supported, and carefree. You may experience a strong sense of well-being and a feeling that you are deeply connected to others and the rest of the world.

These feelings are a normal part of life, and help to motivate people towards healthy behaviors and human flourishing. However, sometimes these feelings are hijacked by substances or experienced along with other symptoms of mental illness.

While euphoria itself is not a psychological condition, a euphoric mood may be a concern when associated with a health condition, medication, or illicit substance.

Sometimes euphoric moods associated with psychiatric conditions or drug use can also be accompanied by other symptoms including:

Types of Euphoric Moods

Some specific types of euphoric moods include:

  • Disorder-induced euphoric moods: There are a number of mental health conditions that can cause euphoric moods including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and some brain disorders.
  • Substance-induced euphoric moods: Drugs that have euphoric effects activate the brain's reward system, which reinforces their use and makes them addictive. Some substances that produce feelings of euphoria include LSD, psilocybin, cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, some benzodiazepines, heroin, codeine, fentanyl, and marijuana.
  • Medication-induced euphoric moods: Prescription medications may also produce euphoric effects. This can include prescription opioid pain relievers, nitrous oxide, alprazolam, and clonazepam. Research suggests that prednisone, a corticosteroid, may cause euphoric moods in some individuals.
  • Activity-induced euphoric moods: Euphoria can also result from natural rewards and from social activities. The effect of endorphins is maximized by activities that are synchronized with other humans such as performing music for people, exercising with others, laughing with a friend, or having sex or being in love with someone.

Impact of Euphoric Moods

Euphoria is one of the most pleasant mental states, but it is this extreme pleasure that can make it problematic when it is the result of an addictive drug. Once people take a substance and experience feelings of euphoria, they want to experience this feeling again. 

Psychoactive substances produce a "surge" of endorphins and other neurotransmitters in the reward circuit of the brain. Endorphins are released naturally when we experience enjoyable things, such as engaging in a creative activity. However, drugs produce a higher level of endorphins than we normally produce on our own. These high levels of endorphins create pleasurable sensations that make us feel euphoric.

As time goes on, people need to take more and more of a drug to feel its effects at all. Not taking the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms and feelings of dysphoria.

Over time, it often takes more of a substance to keep experiencing the same pleasurable feelings, a phenomenon known as tolerance. In order to keep feeling those same euphoric moods, people then need to take more of the substance.

Treatment for Euphoric Mood

Euphoria is a pleasant emotional state and is not a mental health condition on its own, but it can sometimes be a symptom or sign of a mental health condition.

If you are experiencing a mental health problem that is accompanied by euphoria as well as other symptoms, you should talk to your healthcare provider. 

The treatment for your underlying condition that is causing the euphoric mood depends on the nature of the condition. Your doctor or therapist may recommend psychotherapy, but some conditions may also require the use of medications to help control symptoms.

In many cases, your specific treatment plan may involve a combination of therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and social support.

How to Experience Euphoric Moods Naturally

Using substances to achieve euphoric moods is risky and can lead to addiction and overdose in some cases. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to experience euphoric moods without the use of mind-altering substances.

A natural high, on the other hand, can help boost your overall sense of well-being. These experiences are akin to what the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow referred to as "peak experiences." Peak experiences are moments of tremendous, awe-inspiring joy that are often accompanied by feelings of wonder, ecstasy, and a sense of profound significance.

Some things you can try to increase your chances of experiencing a "natural high" include the following listed below.


Physical exercise triggers the release of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters including endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure and well-being. Research has found that engaging in moderate-intensity exercise can increase your endorphin levels.

For example, runners sometimes experience a "runner's high" that is caused by the combined effects of adrenaline and other neurotransmitters. Exercise is also linked to a whole range of positive mental health benefits, including decreasing depression, boosting cognition, and improving overall mood.


A good laugh isn’t just fun or entertaining—it can actually be good for your mental health. Research has shown that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which can help put you in a happier, more euphoric state.


People who meditate regularly experience greater relaxation and less stress. Research also suggests that the practice can boost endorphin levels in the body.


Research has found that having social support is critical to emotional well-being. It boosts overall health and reduces the risk of loneliness. Spending time with friends can also just help you feel good.


Doing good things for others can help you feel more connected to other people. It's a great way to experience a sense of community and experience improved moods naturally.

Participating in volunteering activities improves mental health, physical health, and social well-being. It also decreases symptoms of depression and improves overall life satisfaction.

A Word From Verywell

A euphoric mood can feel amazing and boost your well-being–as long this euphoria is due to a natural and healthy cause. Drug addiction often leads people to keep using substances even when they experience serious negative consequences, and their addiction is often rooted in chasing the euphoric moods that drugs produce.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to experience a euphoric mood naturally. Such natural highs can be a great way to boost your mood and improve your overall health and well-being. 

19 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. Euphoria. APA Dictionary of Psychology.

  2. Fuss J, Steinle J, Bindila L, et al. A runner's high depends on cannabinoid receptors in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112(42):13105-13108. doi:10.1073/pnas.1514996112

  3. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—DSM 5. American Psychiatric Association; 2013.

  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Commonly used drugs charts.

  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Misuse of prescription drugs research report.

  6. van Amsterdam J, Nabben T, van den Brink W. Recreational nitrous oxide use: Prevalence and risksRegul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015;73(3):790-796. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.10.017

  7. Griffin CE 3rd, Kaye AM, Bueno FR, Kaye AD. Benzodiazepine pharmacology and central nervous system-mediated effectsOchsner J. 13(2):214-223.

  8. Brown ES, Chandler PA. Mood and cognitive changes during systemic corticosteroid therapyPrim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;3(1):17–21. doi:10.4088/pcc.v03n0104

  9. Dunbar RIM, Kaskatis K, MacDonald I, Barra V. Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: Implications for the evolutionary function of music. Evol Psychol. 2012;10(4):147470491201000. doi:10.1177/147470491201000403

  10. Cohen EEA, Ejsmond-Frey R, Knight N, Dunbar RIM. Rowers’ high: behavioural synchrony is correlated with elevated pain thresholds. Biol Lett. 2009;6(1):106-108. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0670

  11. Leonti M, Casu L. Ethnopharmacology of Love. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00567

  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs, brains, and behavior: The science of addiction.

  13. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs and the brain. Drugs, Brain, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.

  14. Heijnen S, Hommel B, Kibele A, Colzato LS. Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise-A Review. Front Psychol. 2016;6:1890. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01890

  15. Hearing CM, Chang WC, Szuhany KL, Deckersbach T, Nierenberg AA, Sylvia LG. Physical exercise for treatment of mood disorders: a critical review. Curr Behav Neurosci Rep. 2016;3(4):350-359. doi:10.1007/s40473-016-0089-y

  16. Dunbar RI, Baron R, Frangou A, et al. Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold. Proc Biol Sci. 2012;279(1731):1161-1167. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1373

  17. Tolahunase M, Sagar R, Dada R. Impact of yoga and meditation on cellular aging in apparently healthy individuals: a prospective, open-label single-arm exploratory study. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:7928981. doi:10.1155/2017/7928981

  18. Johnson KV, Dunbar RI. Pain tolerance predicts human social network size. Sci Rep. 2016;6:25267. doi:10.1038/srep25267

  19. Yeung JWK, Zhang Z, Kim TY. Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms [published correction appears in BMC Public Health. 2017 Sep 22;17 (1):736]. BMC Public Health. 2017;18(1):8. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.