Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) — also called day programs — provide intensive treatment for behavioral health issues without requiring an overnight stay. They offer more time in treatment than a standard outpatient program. These programs have been found to be effective in treating substance use disorders, among many other mental illnesses.
Some inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers offer partial hospitalization programs as part of a spectrum of treatment types. Other PHPs are provided through hospitals that may have an inpatient or outpatient program for addiction treatment as well.
An individual in a partial hospitalization program is medically monitored during their time in treatment and participates in a variety of evidence-based therapies. PHPs aim to provide comprehensive care for mental disorders (like addiction) while still allowing a person the freedom to live their life outside of treatment.
Addiction Treatment In Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)
Many partial hospitalization programs are run by medical staff or certified addiction counselors. These programs use a variety of therapies for addiction treatment. Addiction is a multifaceted mental disorder that is not healed by one method alone.
Some treatment methods commonly used in partial hospitalization programs include:
- Behavioral therapy: one of the core treatment methods for addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) works with individuals to determine negative thought patterns that lead to unhealthy behavior, like abusing drugs or alcohol. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a form of CBT, helps people regulate their emotions and learn positive coping skills.
- Individual counseling: working closely with a therapist gives someone the chance to delve deeply into issues surrounding substance use. It also allows the individual to set goals and discuss progress with a professional who knows them personally.
- Group therapy: gives individuals the opportunity to relate to others who are struggling with similar issues. Groups are run by at least one therapist and offer the chance for people to offer insight to each other and develop positive relationships while working toward common therapeutic goals.
- Support groups: less formal gatherings of people who are suffering from addiction. They provide a safe environment for discussion of personal issues related to substance use and how addiction affects people’s lives. These groups may continue after treatment has ended, supporting an individual’s recovery as long as they need.
- Art therapy: used to encourage individuals to express emotions in different ways. Some people do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings or have a hard time putting them into words. Art can be a therapeutic method for them to release deep emotions and provide insight into their primary therapist.
- Fitness and nutrition: some PHPs offer recreational activities and nutritional education. Feeling good physically can boost someone’s mental state and increase their desire to live a healthy life without substance use.
Often, individuals with substance use disorders suffer from a second mental health disorder, like depression or anxiety, that contributes to substance abuse. Co-occurring disorder treatment works to heal both disorders together so a person can recover completely.
Difference Between Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization And Intensive Outpatient Programs
Inpatient treatment for behavioral health issues requires an individual to live in a residential facility during treatment. Inpatient programs offer 24-hour care and support. Most of a person’s day is spent in treatment sessions to provide the most comprehensive care.
Partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) both offer in-depth treatment for behavioral health issues and permit patients to live at home during treatment. They differ primarily in the amount of time the patient spends in treatment.
Intensive outpatient programs are not as time-consuming as partial hospitalization programs. They require fewer hours per week in treatment. Because of this, they allow a more variable time frame, making it easier for a person to schedule treatment around work and other obligations.
The time that someone spends in an intensive outpatient program may be two to four hours per day for three to four days a week. A partial hospitalization program may require four to six hours per day for three to five days per week.
Usually, a medical professional assesses how long someone needs to be in treatment based on several factors, such as severity of addiction and other mental issues (co-occurring disorders). Partial hospitalization programs may last from several weeks to a few months.
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Who May Benefit From A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are a step up from intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and a step down from inpatient or residential treatment. PHPs can be used as a transition back to normal life after an inpatient program, eventually tapering into outpatient treatment.
Day programs may be especially effective as a step down from a 30-day program. Short-term residential programs lay the foundation for recovery, but often do not provide enough time for complete healing. Partial hospitalization programs build on what was learned in residential treatment and continue the recovery process.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people in outpatient addiction treatment find that they need more care and structure that is offered in an IOP. They may be advised by a medical professional to advance to a partial hospitalization program that monitors them more closely. PHPs allow more time to explore and resolve issues related to addiction.
Someone may enter a PHP in order to avoid hospitalization if their addiction is too severe for the treatment level of an IOP. Since partial hospitalization allows people to live at home, it is more flexible than inpatient treatment. Some people do not want to enroll in an inpatient program because of the time commitment and higher cost.
The cost of treatment is a concern that keeps many people from seeking help. Partial hospitalization programs can be much less expensive than inpatient programs, given that they do not require room and board. For some people, outpatient care is the only affordable option. If they have a stable home environment and supportive family, they may be successful in a PHP.
Who May Not Benefit From A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?
An individual’s home life can play a large role in their treatment success. If family members encourage negative habits like substance abuse, it can be very hard for a person to live at home during treatment. These people may benefit more from an inpatient treatment program.
Some people need more care than a PHP can provide, such as those:
- who have been victims of abuse or trauma
- with family members that abuse substances
- with co-occurring disorders
- who have experienced relapse
- without a strong support system outside of treatment
Though partial hospitalization programs utilize many of the same therapies as inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs, the level of care is significantly lower. It takes a highly motivated individual to be successful in a PHP, and that can be an unnecessary challenge for someone struggling with the complicated disease of addiction.
Find The Best Treatment For Addiction
Partial hospitalization programs are most effective when used as a step-down from residential treatment. This allows a recovering individual to slowly return to everyday life and supports recovery as an ongoing process.
A major benefit of starting with an inpatient addiction treatment program is that these programs remove the individual from their usual environment and give them a fresh start. The best residential treatment plans are tailored to the individual and may be implemented in a long-term (extended) treatment program that takes time to ensure a full recovery.
To learn more about addiction treatment options, contact one of our specialists today.