Depressed Young man, Teenager, Boy, Suffering From Depression
PTSD, Substance Abuse

Unmasking the Link: PTSD and Substance Abuse

It is common knowledge that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Substance Abuse are intimately linked. Experts have repeatedly emphasized that it’s crucial to address the co-occurrence of PTSD and substance abuse, as treating one without treating the other often results in relapse. It’s why seeking group therapy should be a priority for people with PTSD and substance abuse. Group Therapy offers a safe and supportive environment where individuals can speak about their experiences, connect with others, and draw strength from shared struggles.

  1. PTSD & Substance Abuse: The Unbreakable Connection

PTSD and Substance Abuse have a symbiotic relationship, each fueling the other’s symptoms. Frequently, people with PTSD turn to substance abuse to bypass the numbing pain that PTSD brings about. At the same time, constant substance abuse can lead to anxiety, paranoia, and distress, further worsening PTSD symptoms. Nonetheless, studies show that group therapy is more effective than individual therapy for individuals with PTSD and Substance abuse. Group Therapy offers a place to share experiences and get advice and feedback from the group.

  1. Being Heard and Forming Connections

PTSD and Substance Abuse can make a person feel alone and isolated as they cycle through their relapses. Grouo therapy offers a safe environment where they can be heard and connect with people with similar experiences. In this setting, individuals can be vulnerable, share, and work through their concerns with others who understand them. It helps build relationships and promotes accountability, which makes it easier to stay on the path to recovery.

  1. Group Therapy: Effective in the Long-Term

While individual therapy can be beneficial, it can’t replace the value of group therapy. Group therapy supports long-term recovery, building social and emotional resiliency to sustain sobriety. Through group therapy, individuals can learn coping strategies they can use daily. It also enhances decision-making skills, improves communication, and builds confidence.

  1. Practical Tools for Recovery

Group therapy offers practical tools to help individuals cope and recover. This includes skill-building activities, self-monitoring techniques, and progress tracking. Substance abuse creates a chemical dependence that needs to be addressed and group therapy offers effective methods to achieve long-term recovery.

  1. A Support System That Never Disappears

PTSD and Substance Abuse affect daily life, whether it is their triggers or managing their symptoms. Group Therapy offers ongoing support through each individual’s unique journey. While an individual’s lifestyle may change, and therapists may switch, one can always depend on a support system in a group therapy session.

The Power Of Group Therapy

For individuals seeking PTSD and Substance Abuse group therapy, knowing there is nothing more powerful than sharing experiences with others who understand their struggles is important. Group therapy provides social and emotional support individuals may not have had before. Individuals gain the confidence to make lasting changes by working through their fears, feelings, and experiences. So don’t wait another day to take advantage of group therapy and take control of your mental and emotional well-being.

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Concept of substance addiction. The struggle and journey
Substance Abuse, Therapy Services

What Are The 12 Core Functions of Substance Abuse Counseling?

Substance abuse counseling is integral to the healing process for those struggling with substance use disorders, as well as their loved ones.

Drug abuse counselors play an essential role in the community by supporting individuals while they work towards recovery from addiction and other mental health issues that may be present. 

Navigating the complexity of these underlying issues can be overwhelming, so in this blog we’ll shed light on the 12 core functions of substance abuse counseling, providing information that can help you or a loved one make an informed decision concerning the best course of action. 

Join us as we go over the fundamentals of successful recovery – we’re here to help you through your journey!

The 12 Core Functions Substance Abuse Counseling Provides:

Substance abuse counselors provide a vital service when it comes to helping an individual seek treatment and recovery from addiction

The 12 core functions that substance abuse counseling provides helps ensure the client is given the best chance of building healthier lifestyles and relationships. 

These core functions include: 

  • Screening
  • Intake
  • Orientation
  • Assessment
  • Treatment planning
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Patient education
  • Crisis intervention
  • Referral
  • Record-keeping and reporting
  • Cross-consultation

When clients use these services they can be sure they will have knowledgeable care and support on their journey towards achieving sobriety. Let’s go a bit more in depth, shall we?

Patient Screening:

Patient screening is the first and most important function of substance abuse counseling. 

During this stage, counselors assess whether a patient is suitable for treatment, and can determine if a patient is unlikely to benefit from certain types of care due to any conditions that need specialized attention. 

Patient screening helps counselors identify existing behavioral problems and mental health issues that could interfere with their treatment plan. It also allows counselors to recognize early warning signs so they can take proactive steps towards helping patients manage their condition more effectively, seek appropriate referrals, or even provide additional resources. 

As such, patient screening plays an integral role in providing effective substance abuse counseling services.

Patient Intake:

Patient intake is another vital component of the substance abuse counseling process and one of the 12 core functions. 

This step involves gathering information about the patient, like medical/mental health history, current lifestyle habits, and personal goals. 

It’s also an opportunity for the counselor and patient to form a more concentrated bond as they discuss what led the patient to pursue treatment. 

During patient intake, counselors must pay very close attention to recognize the true cause(s) of the problem and identify any underlying issues that may have contributed to it. 

A thorough patient intake can help ensure that appropriate treatment is provided to address all aspects of a client’s needs in their journey towards recovery.

Patient Orientation:

Patient orientation is an essential stage in the process of substance abuse counseling, during which counselors and patients establish a meaningful relationship. 

In this stage, the counselor acts as a bridge for the patient by providing education about their recovery, setting treatment goals that prioritize success and creating an environment of encouragement. 

This is beneficial to both parties, as it helps build mutual trust and gives counselors insight into what has previously been difficult for them to express. It also enables counselors to better understand why certain treatment elements are necessary for a successful recovery. 

Finally, patient orientation is key in developing an atmosphere of open communication and providing relapse prevention advice within a supportive therapeutic context. All in all, this stage serves as a critical foundation on which all other counseling functions will be built upon.

Patient Assessment:

During the patient assessment stage of substance abuse counseling, the counselor engages in conversations and activities with the patient, collects various types of data from different sources, evaluates the patient’s life situation, and develops treatment plans. 

The purpose of this stage is to gain an understanding of where the patient is in terms of their condition, struggles, experiences, long-term goals, relationships, family structure and dynamics. 

The therapist assesses what support systems are in place for the patient and determines if any assistance is needed in areas such as discharge planning upon completion of treatment. 

Ultimately, effective assessment is an integral part of ensuring successful substance abuse counseling treatment plans and successful outcomes for patients.

Treatment Planning:

Treatment planning is an important step in substance abuse counseling, as it is a roadmap used to guide the client through their journey of recovery.

During this stage, the counselor and client will collaboratively develop goals together and decide on an appropriate strategy to achieve those goals. 

It is also a time for both parties to assess the various treatment modalities for substance abuse that are available for support. Treatment plans should be tailored to each individual and adapted when necessary as the client progresses through their recovery process. 

It is important that specific assistance and services are delivered efficiently, so having a clear treatment plan can ensure positive outcomes from substance abuse counseling.

Case Management:

Case management involves making referrals to other treatment centers, advocating for the client during treatment applications, monitoring the progress made by clients while they are in treatments, and continually assessing their individual needs. 

Case managers will also assist their clients in coming up with an individual plan of action that best suits their personal recovery goals. 

This stage means being responsible for the effectiveness of the strategies being used to help meet the needs of patients. 

In this way, case managers provide advocacy and support assistance throughout the entire process. It is very important as it ensures that all parts necessary for quality care are coordinated together so that everyone can be supported effectively on their journey toward recovery.


This next function involves the counselor and client working closely together by creating goals and plans to help the client recover. 

Counselors can provide resources and support, role-play scenarios, give feedback and advice, or keep them motivated during this stage. 

Effective counseling makes a remarkable difference in the recovery process by providing direction for clients, helping them maintain positive behaviors, guiding them through challenging moments and allowing for self-reflection. 

Furthermore, counselors help build strong relationships of trust between client and counselor, which is important when discussing difficult topics related to addiction. 

Ultimately, counseling can offer the keys to success in overcoming addiction and is an essential component when it comes to substance abuse treatment.

Patient Education:

During this stage, counselors engage with patients by educating them on topics related to their situation and provide resources and information to help them stay abstinent during treatment.

This can include teaching important facts about the substance being abused and its effects, providing advice on how to cope with the cravings for substances and identifying risky situations which can be avoided, as well as teaching strategies for responding when those situations arise. 

Patient education not only introduces greater awareness of different aspects of addiction and relapse prevention but also encourages more autonomy within the patient so they may better navigate their recovery process.

Crisis Intervention:

Crisis intervention is a very crucial part of substance abuse counseling. During crisis intervention, counselors may need to prevent or address: 

  • Institutionalization
  • Suicide attempts, or 
  • Physical danger from either the client or someone else involved in the situation. 

The counselor must assess the severity of the crisis and take immediate steps to ensure safety for all involved. 

Depending on the crisis issue at hand, these steps might include listening and providing support and guidance, making referrals for safety planning or treatment services, de-escalating an emotionally-charged situation with mediation techniques, arranging transportation to appropriate medical care and treatment facilities, performing an assessment related to trauma history and relapse triggers. 

The goal is always to provide the client with a sense of calmness, understanding and compassion so they can discuss their issues more openly.


The tenth core function of substance abuse counseling is referral. Referral is an important part of the recovery process because it helps connect individuals struggling with substance abuse to other services and resources they may need. 

During this stage, counselors encourage their clients to access these services, such as:

  • Social service agencies
  • Employment support programs
  • Health care providers, and others. 

Referrals also provide information on local self-help group meetings and 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). 

Additionally, the counselor might suggest treatment options outside their scope of expertise such as residential or inpatient programs. With this step, counselors can ensure that all the client’s needs are addressed and that they have a comprehensive plan for long-term sobriety.

Record-Keeping and Reporting:

An important part of this stage is that the drug abuse counselor must keep detailed, accurate records of every session by tracking progress, goals, and approach changes. 

It is also necessary to record any other information related to each client’s treatment in order to provide a clear picture of the entire process. 

By keeping these records well organized and filed away securely, counselors can easily assess progress for each individual or group over time – something which is incredibly beneficial for planning future sessions and assessing outcomes from completed ones. 

In short, record keeping and recording not only ensures understandable communication between members undergoing treatment, but it also acts as an effective way to assess how much a given approach helps clients recover.


Cross-consultation is the twelfth and final core function of substance abuse counseling. 

This stage involves the counselor connecting the client to additional medical, psychological, social, and spiritual resources as needed. 

The counselor meets with different professionals and works together with them to create a plan customized for the individual’s specific needs. 

The experts involved in this process could include doctors, mental health workers, rehabilitation counselors, welfare services agents, and spiritual leaders such as clergy or support groups. Cross-consultation is an essential stage for creating lasting sobriety as it ensures that all of the individual’s complex medical and emotional issues are addressed holistically.

An adult man, looking happy, talking with group therapy members
Focus on the smiling man, talking with people of all ages, during the group therapy.

Substance Abuse Counseling Could Save Your Life:

So, what do effective treatment options provide? They can offer someone the personalized guidance, support groups, and other resources necessary to confront their issues with substance abuse and work towards leading a healthier life.

Each step helps to create an environment of understanding and compassion so that patients can receive positive care and treatment. 

Collectively, the 12 core functions make up a complete system designed to provide those in need with adequate support that can lead to sobriety and lasting recovery. It’s essential that everyone battling addiction remembers they do not have to face it alone. 

For any readers residing in Maryland or out-of-state alike, we urge you to reach out for help today at Gemini Health (301) 363-1063 or search “substance abuse counseling near me” if you need support in overcoming an addiction problem.


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Substance Abuse, Therapy Services

How Outpatient Therapy Can Help You Overcome Substance Abuse

Just like everyone has their own distinct personalities, everyone’s journey to sobriety is unique.

Recovery can be a challenging, yet rewarding journey. Some of us have just a few peels to look beneath before we recover, while others may feel like they are constantly unraveling tough layers holding back the path to freedom from trauma and mistakes.

No matter how great or small your struggles seem – there is hope for recovery!

Since no two stories are the same and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution – we each have our own path that helps us find healing.

For some, inpatient treatment centers are the best option; for others, outpatient therapy is preferable.

If you’re dealing with a substance addiction and considering your options, here’s what you should know about the benefits of outpatient therapy.

What is Therapy?

Let’s get to the basics first: what is therapy?

Therapy is a form of treatment where an individual works one-on-one with a trained mental health professional in order to address mental and emotional issues associated with their substance abuse problem.

Working with a therapist helps people identify their unique mental health needs, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and break unhealthy patterns for better overall well-being. It is an essential part of managing substance abuse and its effects.

What Is Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment?

Outpatient substance abuse treatment is a form of therapy that allows those dealing with substance abuse problems to attend regular counseling sessions while living at home and maintaining their daily routines.

It can include individual counseling, group therapy sessions, support groups, 12-step programs, and more. It focuses on developing coping skills to help manage stress and triggers that can lead to relapse.

Different Types of Outpatient Substance Abuse Therapy:

Overcoming a substance abuse problem is no easy feat. Fortunately, there are a variety of outpatient therapies available to help those struggling with addiction find their way back to sobriety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing behaviors by altering your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors through a series of exercises and activities.

During CBT sessions, you will work with a therapist to identify patterns in your behavior and learn new coping strategies for dealing with difficult situations or triggers that lead to substance abuse.

This type of therapy can be used both as part of an outpatient program or as a standalone treatment option.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is another common form of outpatient treatment for those struggling with substance abuse issues.

In group therapy, individuals meet with other people who may be going through similar struggles in order to encourage support and understanding from one another.

By creating an open dialogue about substance abuse issues, group members can provide each other with emotional support, accountability, and advice on how to stay sober.

Group therapy can also provide a safe space for those dealing with addiction-related issues to talk openly about their struggles without fear of judgment or criticism.

Motivational Interviewing (MI):

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is another type of outpatient therapy that focuses on helping individuals achieve long-term sobriety by exploring their motivations for making positive changes in their lives.

Through MI sessions, individuals learn how to identify their own reasonings for wanting to make healthier lifestyle choices and develop action plans for achieving these goals.

This type of therapy helps individuals create realistic plans that address both short-term and long-term goals while providing them with the necessary tools they need to stay sober in the future.  

An adult man, looking happy, talking with group therapy members
Focus on the smiling man, talking with people of all ages, during the group therapy.

Benefits of Outpatient Therapy For Drug Addiction:

The benefits of undergoing any type of therapeutic treatment for substance abuse recovery go far beyond simply addressing the physical aspects of addiction.

It helps individuals gain insight into the underlying causes of their addiction and offers them an opportunity to gain control over the physical and psychological components that contributed to its development in the first place.

Curious as to why some choose outpatient over inpatient treatment?

Here are a few benefits of specifically attending outpatient substance abuse treatment:

1) Flexibility – Outpatient therapy provides flexibility for those who may not have the time or money for inpatient treatment centers. With outpatient treatment, you can keep your job and fulfill obligations while still getting the help you need. In addition, you will be able to create a customized plan that works best for you and your situation. This includes having control over when you go to appointments and how often they take place. 

2) Cost Effective – Because outpatient treatments don’t require an extended stay in a facility like an inpatient treatment center does, it is usually more cost effective than other forms of therapy. You will also be able to make use of health insurance coverage which may cover some or all of your costs associated with outpatient care.

3) Access To A Support Network – One of the most important aspects of recovering from substance addiction is having access to a strong support network that can provide emotional and moral support throughout the process. With an outpatient program, it’s easier to establish relationships with other people who understand what you are going through and provide encouragement along the way as well as accountability when needed. 

Addiction vs. Substance Abuse:

If you’re struggling with a substance problem, then you may have heard the terms “addiction” and “substance abuse” used interchangeably.

But are they really the same thing? In short, no.

While the two issues can be related, there are actually some distinct differences between addiction and substance abuse that are important to understand.

At its core, substance abuse is defined as the use of a substance which has a negative effect on one’s health or lifestyle. This could include anything from occasional overindulgence in alcohol to chronic drug use.

Addiction, on the other hand, is more than just an occasional lapse in judgment; it’s a compulsive behavior that can’t be controlled even when faced with serious negative consequences such as loss of relationships or financial hardship.

Addictions can stem from substance abuse but not all cases of substance abuse result in addiction.

Thankfully, Gemini Health is here no matter which journey in recovery you’re on.

Outpatient Therapy Can Support Your Recovery:

Outpatient therapy can be an effective tool in helping those struggling with a substance abuse or addiction problem take back control of their lives and break free once and for all.

Whether it’s individual counseling sessions or support groups, there are many resources available through an outpatient program that can help guide someone on the path towards recovery.

If you are looking into options for overcoming your addiction issues or curious on how to cure drug addiction naturally, consider speaking with someone here at Gemini Health about how an outpatient program might be right for you!


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Substance Abuse

What Is Drug Addiction

Addiction is classified as a chronic disease characterized by the inability to control the use of legal and illegal substances, despite negative consequences. Often society views addiction as a moral failing, even though the addiction itself is not a choice. And not everyone will develop an addiction after using drugs. However, anyone can become addicted after trying a substance once or partaking recreationally. A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors can contribute to someone becoming an addict. 

Many will also not be able to admit that they have a problem for fear of being embarrassed or shamed by others. Sadly, drug addiction not only hurts the individual but can often affect family and loved ones as well. It can also seriously mess up a person’s life by resulting in the inability to hold down a job, alienating close ones, and draining financial resources, just to name a few possibilities.

Types of Substances? 

People can develop a substance abuse problem with any of the five classes of drugs, which fall under narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. Some of these are: 

  • Alcohol 
  • Prescription Medications 
  • Tobacco 
  • Over-the-Counter Medications 
  • Club Drugs (substances generally taken at parties and concerts, like Ecstasy and Molly) 
  • Soft Drugs (substances that trigger more of a psychological dependence rather than a physical one, like marijuana, LSD, mescaline, and DMT) 
  • Hard Drugs (substances that can trigger both a psychological and physical dependence, like heroin, cocaine, and meth)  

The most addictive drugs are considered to be heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, and methamphetamine. Sadly, these drugs can be especially problematic because there is no way of knowing exactly what is in them. Dangerous chemicals are used to manufacture these drugs and they can be very toxic to the body.  

All of these substances can potentially cause major damage to the mind and the body. The chemicals in the brain can literally be changed permanently and affect things, like memory, decision-making, and behavior. Some drugs can also alter the way someone physically looks. Abusing methamphetamines can lead to dental problems (discolored teeth or tooth loss), premature aging, acne, hair loss, and weight loss from suppressed appetite. Research suggests that meth directly impacts people on a cellular level. Cocaine, which is a stimulant, can cause similar problems, and snorting it will possibly destroy the cartilage in your nose. Unfortunately, it is also possible to build up a tolerance to these substances, where it requires more and more to experience that “high” they are looking for. 

Signs Someone Could Have a Drug Addiction 

Substance use can be hidden, depending on the type of addiction someone has. Others may not be aware of an issue if someone is able to keep up pretenses. And admitting to oneself that they have a problem can be very difficult. Knowing the signs of a drug addiction in others or yourself can potentially lead to treatment and recovery. 

If someone is doing any of the following on a regular basis then they may have a substance abuse problem. They can seek help by going to a treatment center or looking for an addiction counselor nearby. 

  • Have a strong urge to use the substance on a regular basis. 
  • Have constant thoughts about the substance, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. 
  • Over time, you need more of that substance in order to feel that rush or high. 
  • Have a stash and consistently maintain that supply. 
  • Put money towards the substance, despite not being able to afford it. 
  • Miss work or are unable to meet expectations. Shirk responsibilities, like cleaning or grocery shopping, or miss out on social outings with family and friends. 
  • Not being able to stop using the substance, whether cutting back or quitting cold turkey. 
  • Have a change in behavior and begin to do things that you would not normally do otherwise, like stealing money or items, even from loved ones. 
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when you go too long without using the substance or try to quit. 
  • Unable to give up the substance, regardless of being aware of a problem and past harm to yourself and others. 


If you are a family member or close one then you may notice some of the following behavior. You might be able to help by providing resources and staging an intervention. However, please remember that you cannot force anyone to get treatment and it has to be a personal choice. 

  • That person begins to act secretive and starts pushing people away. 
  • Their habits start to change and they begin engaging in risky behavior. 
  • They are not keeping up with personal hygiene. 
  • They start hanging out with different people and avoiding certain social situations. 
  • Their mood alters and they become depressed and/or anxious. 

Convincing Someone to Get Help 

Getting someone to recognize that they have an addiction can be very difficult, let alone getting them to receive treatment for it. One way to possibly convince someone to seek help is to talk to the individual in a safe and judgment free environment. If it is productive then other family members and friends can also partake in the conversation so that they can express how that person’s addiction makes them feel or how it affects their lives. There should be careful planning and consideration before having any conversations so that the person needing help feels comfortable with the situation and will actually listen to what is being said. Knowing what everyone is going to say ahead of time also helps so that emotions do not rise, which might derail the conversation and possibly make the person say no to treatment. It is also a very good idea to consult with a trained professional to receive guidance and make the conversation more productive.      

Therapy for Addiction 

Overcoming addiction is not an easy feat. The road to recovery is long and many will relapse, sometimes multiple times. Consistent therapy and treatment can aid a person in being able to manage their addiction and get to a place where they are in recovery. Addiction counselors are trained to work with people in either an individual, family, or group setting. Sometimes medication may be used in combination with therapy. Medication can be prescribed to help cope with withdrawal symptoms and some other side effects of drug use, but they cannot rid someone of their addiction. 

Working with a therapist, you will unpack the motivations for why you are engaging in this kind of behavior. When you get to the root of the addiction then you can start to move forward and work through these issues. The therapist will also help you identify the ways substance abuse has affected your life and those around you so that you can start to rebuild your life and possibly heal any damaged relationships. By learning to handle your problems in a healthy and safe way, then you will be less likely to turn to these more destructive habits. Creating better decision-making skills and avoiding people and situations that are too tempting is an important step in the recovery process. 

It is also necessary to address any other possible mental disorders that could be fueling the substance abuse. Disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, other personality disorders, and so on increase the likelihood that someone will develop a substance abuse problem. So, treating these disorders along with the addiction can help ensure long-term success. Unfortunately, like most chronic diseases, drug addiction cannot be “cured,” in the same way that an infection can be. There will always be a lingering pull to turn towards drugs when someone is struggling, but having the right tools and resources can make the difference in how they handle those struggles without relapsing.  

It is also important that people do not villainize those with a drug addiction, as they are not inherently bad people. Offering encouragement and support is vital to those who are trying to better themselves and move past their addiction. 


Overdosing is a major risk of taking drugs and can quickly result in death. An overdose can occur when quantities of a substance have reached toxic levels in someone’s system, whether done on purpose or by accident. Learning and recognizing the symptoms of an overdose can save a life, whether it’s for yourself or someone else. 

People can experience different types of symptoms and it is not always immediately apparent that someone is having an overdose. The general symptoms are chest pain, seizures, headaches, difficulty breathing, delirium, extreme agitation, and anxiety. Some other possible symptoms are poor body temperature regulation, passing out, changes in skin color, and irregular pulse. 

An overdose needs immediate medical attention. So, if you believe someone is having an overdose then call 911 right away. Most places do not treat overdose or reporting an overdose as a criminal offense. 

Ready to Get Help for Substance Abuse? 

If you are struggling with substance abuse and are ready to seek help then reach out to Gemini Health for the appropriate treatment. Our healthcare professionals are highly skilled and experienced to provide you with quality health services. They offer both individual and group therapy, as well as access to psychiatrists for all patients. Plus, there are no wait times to join groups. Call (301) 363-1063 and speak to our staff to schedule your appointment today!   

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