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

May 15, 2024
Leah Young recently shared her perspective on "euphoric recall" -- when someone recounts a negative experience in a positive light -- with HuffPost writer Ashley Broadwater. The article examines what euphoric recall is and how it happens. Young notes, “the same part of the brain that is stimulated during a pleasant experience is also activated when we’re remembering it. We can then minimize experienced consequences, exaggerate the positives and justify any associated costs." The article also provides helpful information about responding to and addressing euphoric recall.

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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.”

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