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G.A.M. A Global approach to psychiatric medication for Individual and Collective transformation. “G.A.M.” – the name & some GAM landmarks. “Gaining Autonomy with my Medication” “Gestion Autonome des Médicaments de l’âme” S.P.M. “self-management of psychiatric medication”

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A Global approach to psychiatric medication for Individual and Collective transformation

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“G.A.M.” – the name & some GAM landmarks.

  • “Gaining Autonomy with my Medication”

  • “Gestion Autonome des Médicaments de l’âme”

  • S.P.M. “self-management of psychiatric medication”

  • Since 1994: 3 pilot-projects; GAM provincial committee; publications; International Forum in 2007 on GAM practices “Psychotropic Medications: the only answer to suffering?”

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G.A.M Originators

An Alliance between:

  • Service users – initial impetus.

  • RRASMQ – Quebec coalition of alternative resources in mental health.

  • AGIDD-SMQ- Quebec coalition of advocacy groups in mental health.

  • ERASME – Research team.

    Lourdes Rodriguez del Barrio, School of

    Social Work of Université de Montréal.

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What’s GAM?

  • At the level of the individual:

  • A process of learning & understanding medication & its effects on all aspects of a person’s life.

  • A process of questioning one’s needs & wants with respect to psychiatric medication.

  • GAM is not an end in itself; it is part of a process of personal development. It cannot be artificially separated or managed apart from that process.

  • At the collective level:

  • Integrating this approach in various community agencies and hospitals.

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The Steps as outlined in theGuide “Taking Back Control”

Part 1:

  • First step: Awakening. “I am a person not an illness!”

  • Second step: Observing my self.

    How is my quality of life? (No one can be against having a better quality of life!).

    (My everyday life; my living conditions; the people around me; my health; my medication – why?;effects of medication on all aspects of my life – positive & negative.)

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GAM Steps - continued

  • Third step: Recognizing. What are my basic needs? What are my resources? What are my rights? Learning about my medications – Instrumental: “Critical Guide of Psychiatric Medications” & training “The Other Side of the Pill”.

  • Fourth step: Choosing. Now is the time to make a decision – adjust; continue; reduce; stop.

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A Method to reduce/discontinue psychiatric medication

Part 2:

If I come to the conclusion that my current medication has a negative effect on my Quality of life, this might be the method for me.

- My decision; preparation; action plan;my actors;lifeguards;10% rule; “quality of life dose” or “comfort zone”; my self-evaluation scale; log book; withdrawal effects

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Once upon a time, we had a dream…

“Our dream is that people who have had experiences like ours never again become victims of a decision-making system that excludes them, so they can make clear and informed choices and take control of their lives.” Taken from: Taking Back Control

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10 Good REASONS:Why GAM shouldn’t just stay in Québec!

  • It works! So many people have changed their life around with GAM!

  • It goes to the core of the issue: medication should be there to improve a person’s quality of life and not worsen it!

  • It gives the different actors a non-confrontational, non-judgemental way to talk about medication by avoiding polarization - anti or pro medication.

  • No need anymore to talk about compliance!

  • The symbolic aspects of meds are taken into account.

  • It’s a collaborative process/alliance of different actors.

  • It’s a transversal approach.

  • The expertise of the user (consumer/survivor) is recognized.

  • Opens up spaces of dialogue around medication and suffering.

  • It’s about true empowerment of the person and his/her environment.

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Welcome to the world of GAM…

Céline Cyr

GAM pioneer & ambassador

[email protected] -

for inquiries & GAM course

www.rrasmq.com - to order GAM guides

Action on Alternatives

International RECOVERY Perspectives

June 5th & 6th, 2008 - Toronto