Eli5: Why do some toxic substances make us feel euphoric rather than sick?

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Eli5: Why do some toxic substances make us feel euphoric rather than sick?

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Mostly doses.

Drink too much water and you’ll get high right before dying because of no signals getting to your heart.

Alcohol feels great until you go to far and then you feel horrible.

A popular heart medicine was known first as a dreadful poison because it made your heart beat too hard which killed you… then the doctors figured out how to safely give small accurate doses to people who’s hearts weren’t beating hard enough and it’s saved lives.

With pretty much anything related to health, dosage is key.

It makes you euphoric by screwing up the way your body works. Your brain isn’t trying to make you feel euphoric all the time, so chemicals only give you that feeling by interfering with the normal function of your brain.

Basically, toxic substances simply mess something in your body.

Some will stop your heart, some will prevent blood from clotting, some will trigger pain receptor,…

Sometime the way they mess you up is pleasurable. We are simple creatures. So if a toxic substance force your muscles to relax, it can be pleasurable. Tension goes away, etc… But take too much and your heart relax as well and you die.

Some will force your body to secrete a “feel good” chemical. They forcefully trigger your happiness. But take too much and your body overdose and some things start failing.

Toxicity has different effects. Sometimes those effects will be clearly negative, but in other circumstances they can be perceived as positive. However, even ‘positive’ toxins can have a lasting damaging effect, or would not be desirable to experience for longer periods. See the impact on toxins which release seretonin – this is great in short bursts – but the impact on your emotions after that once it is drained means that it can be unpleasant and unsustainable.