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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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g a m


A Global approach to psychiatric medication for Individual and Collective transformation

g a m the name some gam landmarks
“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?”
g a m originators
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.

what s gam
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.
the steps as outlined in the guide taking back control
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.)

gam steps continued
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.
a method to reduce discontinue psychiatric medication
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

once upon a time we had a dream

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

10 good reasons why gam shouldn t just stay in qu bec
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.
welcome to the world of gam
Welcome to the world of GAM…

Céline Cyr

GAM pioneer & ambassador

celine_cyr@sympatico.ca -

for inquiries & GAM course

www.rrasmq.com - to order GAM guides

Action on Alternatives

International RECOVERY Perspectives

June 5th & 6th, 2008 - Toronto