Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

If you or a loved one is seeking an outpatient treatment program to handle mild to moderate drug addiction, you may want to consider partial hospitalization. This step up from intensive outpatient programs (IOP) can provide additional structure along with access to a wider range of clinicians.

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?

Partial Hospitalization Programs are a type of outpatient rehab option for those struggling with drug addiction and substance use disorder. PHP provides short-term stabilization and health services to help individuals recover from previous substance abuse.

Partial hospitalization programs can take place at hospitals or standalone medical centers. However, unlike a standard hospital stay, the patient can leave the facility after each day’s treatment.

The level of care offered at a PHP is considered a step down from inpatient treatment but provides more structure than other outpatient care options, such as intensive outpatient programs (IOP). In a PHP, patients have access to the same treatment team as those in inpatient care but without a lengthy time commitment. In some ways, partial hospitalization can offer the best of both worlds.

What is included with partial hospitalization care?

In many ways, partial hospitalization programs mirror many of the offerings of inpatient or residential rehab. A PHP will provide medical assistance, including detoxification and health monitoring. PHPs will also focus on behavioral health, assisting you with improving your mental wellness through individual and group therapy.

Some of the most common therapy offerings in a partial hospitalization program include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps the patient identify destructive or harmful thought patterns to establish improved coping skills and habits over time.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): Aimed at helping the patient come to terms with their circumstances, this specialized type of CBT also supports the patient in establishing better habits and thought patterns.
  • Group therapy: Often in groups of 8-15 and led by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, participants are asked to share experiences and progress within their peer group. This creates a powerful support system and allows each patient to feel less isolated in their recovery experiences.
  • Family counseling: Sometimes meetings with family members are part of the therapeutic approach of a PHP. This may come in the form of family education (teaching them about the disease of addiction) or as family therapy sessions focused on repairing the family dynamic.

In addition to these therapies, a partial hospitalization program will also offer medication management when applicable. This may refer to medication to manage your pre-existing mental illness, or the medication prescribed to you as part of your recovery plan (aka Medication-Assisted Treatment).

A PHP will also offer snacks and meals when applicable for patients with treatment plans that require lengthier daily visits.

PHP Admissions and Exclusions

Admission to a PHP is possible for recovering addicts with less severe addictions or those unable to make the full commitment to inpatient rehab. A PHP will also admit patients who have completed a residential or inpatient program and are looking for the next transitional step in their rehab progress.

Patients who require serious or intensive care, particularly during withdrawals, are sometimes not eligible for a partial hospitalization program at first. Patients who require 24-hour medical treatment and access to life support are better served through inpatient hospitalization.

Sometimes, patients will transfer from acute care in an inpatient setting down to partial hospitalization, which is sometimes called a “stepdown.”

Reasons to Choose a Partial Hospitalization Program

When looking at the different rehab options for yourself or a loved one, there are many to choose from—so what makes PHP ideal for some recovering addicts?

Here are some points to consider when deciding whether a partial hospitalization program is the right choice for you.

Specialized Medical Support

In many cases, PHP is recommended for recovering addicts with co-occurring disorders or mental health concerns (such as mood disorders) that can impact their addiction recovery. With access to full medical staff, you can receive the supportive care and treatment needed to manage mental illness alongside addiction recovery.

Time Commitment

Inpatient programs offer the most structure, but they are not always feasible due to their time requirements. Constraints around daily life such as employment, childcare, or finances could make inpatient care impossible, but a PHP can provide much of the same treatment you’d find in an inpatient rehab program without the same level of commitment.

The average PHP will last between 2 to 4 weeks for about 20 hours a week.

Addiction Severity

A PHP might be a good step for an individual without any previous history of substance abuse or someone with a mild to moderate addiction. However, someone with a more severe addiction or recurring relapse may need the additional structure and more intensive treatment of an inpatient setting.

How Long Does a PHP Last?

A partial hospitalization program requires roughly 20 hours weekly for up to 7 days per week, depending on your individual treatment plan. Treatment through a PHP will usually last between 2 to 4 weeks.

The extent of your stay will be dependent on advice from your physician or the medical professional overseeing your recovery treatment plan. Length of stay can also be impacted by insurance coverage.

However, a PHP is not always the final step in drug rehab. Many individuals move onward to Intensive Outpatient Programs as the next step in recovering from their addiction.

Does Partial Hospitalization Sound Like the Right Choice?

If it sounds like a partial hospitalization program is the right type of rehab for yourself or a loved one, you can find one near you using the SAMHSA program locator.

Frequently Asked Questions About Partial Hospitalization Programs

How much does PHP rehab cost?

The cost of a partial hospitalization program will vary between rehab facilities. However, there are some additional factors that will also impact the overall price.

Factors that can increase the price of a PHP can include:

  • Amenities and additional offerings, such as spa treatments, horseback riding, etc.
  • Sought-after location, such as beachfront property or mountainous scenery
  • Longer stays will naturally incur a larger cost

However, health insurance can sometimes lower overall pricing depending on what your individual provider will cover.

Will insurance cover the cost of a partial hospitalization program?

In many cases, insurance plans (including Medicare) offer some type of coverage for addiction recovery, including PHP. This can include partial or even full coverage. Speak with your individual insurance provider to confirm what type of coverage they can offer you.

 

How to avoid a relapse after a PHP?

During a partial hospitalization program, you will receive therapy designed to help you with relapse prevention. You will learn stronger coping skills and form better habits, while also strengthening your support system.

While sometimes relapse is part of overall recovery, it doesn’t mean the treatment has failed. Your partial hospitalization program is designed to provide you with the tools to best defend you against relapsing during and after the program.

How long does a PHP last?

Depending on your individual treatment plan, an average PHP lasts 8 hours a day with a range of 3-12 hours, depending on your unique needs. A PHP can take place up to 7 days a week.

Reviewed by:Chris Carberg

Addiction Guide Founder & Mental Health Advocate

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Chris Carberg is a visionary digital entrepreneur, the Founder of Addiction Guide, and a long-time recovering addict from prescription opioids, sedatives, and alcohol.  Over the past 15 years, Chris has worked as a tireless advocate for addicts and their loved ones, while becoming a sought-after digital entrepreneur. Chris is a storyteller and aims to share his story with others in the hopes of helping them achieve their own recovery.

Written by:

Content Manager

Jessica Miller is a USF graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She has written professionally for over a decade, from HR scripts and employee training to business marketing and company branding. In addition to writing, Jessica spent time in the healthcare sector (HR) and as a high school teacher. She has personally experienced the pitfalls of addiction and is delighted to bring her knowledge and writing skills together to support our mission. Jessica lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband and two dogs.

4 references
  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4131. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2006. Retrieved on February 14, 2022, from https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma15-4131.pdf
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2006, August). Practice Use Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Substance Use Disorders: Second Edition. Psychiatry Online. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/substanceuse.pdf
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, September 3). Treatment approaches for drug addiction drugfacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, September 3). Treatment approaches for drug addiction drugfacts. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

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