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Do You Experience 'Euphoric Recall'? Here's Why It Can Be Toxic.

Have you ever told your friends you wanted to text an ex, only to hear them vehemently say no? Or maybe you’re thinking fondly about a past job ― one that you actually hated. Or perhaps you decided to pursue a sobriety journey after a few rough nights out, but you find yourself unable to stop thinking about the fun you had when a cocktail was involved.

These situations illustrate what it might be like to experience “euphoric recall.”

“Euphoric recall is a psychological phenomenon where individuals remember past experiences, particularly negative ones, in a more positive light than they actually were,” said Monica Cwynar , a licensed clinical social worker with Thriveworks in Pittsburgh who specializes in anxiety, depression and coping skills. “It happens commonly with addicts, but it can happen with individuals who aren’t addicts.”

Signs of euphoric recall include idealizing or exaggerating the positive and minimizing the negative; experiencing intense emotions when recalling a memory; experiencing disconnection from reality, or a memory feeling too good to be true; stress responses and mood changes; and obsessively thinking about the good times rather than remembering the situation more broadly.

Besides people recovering from substance misuse, other groups that may experience these kinds of thought patterns are people recovering from eating disorders and people who have left toxic relationships. Euphoric recall doesn’t just happen after serious situations, though, and these examples only scratch the surface.

Given the popular beliefs about the power of positive thinking, you might wonder if euphoric recall is really that harmful. The truth is, it’s not all bad.

“Seeing things in a positive or optimistic way can do

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