This effect is also an important one to talk about in helping you to avoid a relapse to depression and to alcohol/other drug use.
Often people who have been trying to change their alcohol/other drug use, or their depression will feel very badly about themselves if they have a lapse – they will probably see it as the end of the world or a finish to their attempts at quitting. You may have already had some of these thoughts.
The ‘Breaking the Rule Effect’ could happen if you have a slip-up and “break your rules”.
These rules could be staying off alcohol, pot or speed completely, or cutting down to a lower level.
Or, your rules could be about staying well, and not getting depressed again.
The “breaking the rule effect” happens when you have slip-up and break your rules or your goals for therapy, and then think something like “oh stuff it, I’ve had a drink (or hit) — broken my rule, might as well keep going”.
Or, you might notice on some days you feel a bit more depressed than others. In this case, the “breaking the rule effect” would be thinking something like “here I go again — I knew this therapy wouldn’t work, I’m not good enough to change, so stuff it, I won’t try anymore”.
In both of these examples, there are other ways of looking at the situation.