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What is a Partial Hospitalization Program and How Does It Work?


addiction recovery group in a partial hospitalization program

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a mental health or substance abuse treatment program in which clients take part at a treatment center during the day and return home at night. The idea is to provide structured and comprehensive care while allowing people to continue their lives outside of treatment. PHPs are usually available at inpatient or residential treatment facilities.

What Is A Partial Hospitalization Program?

PHPs are the middle ground between Residential Inpatient Programs (a full-time stay in a mental health/detox facility) and Outpatient Programs (only a few hours of treatment per week). They are outpatient treatment programs for people who need a higher level of care than standard outpatient programs can provide, but who do not require 24/7 monitoring. They are often used after a person has completed a residential recovery program but is not fully ready to return to their normal lifestyle.

Who Can Benefit From Partial Hospitalization Programs?

Partial hospitalization programs are effective for people with substance use disorders or mental health issues (anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, etc.), even if co-occurring. Patients are medically monitored during treatment, and take part in a variety of therapies. Programs are designed for the unique needs of each patient. The type, intensity, and length of treatment vary, as well as any medications used. The treatment plans are also influenced by the severity of the substance addiction or mental health issue, and medical insurance coverage.

PHPs run for 4 to 8 hours a day — usually 5 days a week — and the participants can return to their own homes at night. Most programs last a few weeks to a few months depending on the patient’s needs. This treatment method has proven its value and is one of the preferred choices because of the benefits and convenience it offers. Most PHPs are covered by insurance.

What Services Do Partial Hospitalization Programs Provide?

There are many services commonly available through most PHPs, including:

  • Individual counseling, psychotherapy (CBT and DBT), and group therapy sessions
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy (yoga, art therapy, animal therapy, or other holistic programs)
  • Fitness and nutrition programs to aid recovery from detox
  • Medication management if medication-assisted treatment is required
  • Peer support groups, 12-step programs, or peer counseling
  • Aftercare planning if continued treatment is indicated on an outpatient basis
  • Vocational skills/life skills training groups
  • Professional case management

How Do Partial Hospitalization Programs Work?

While PHPs are designed on a case-by-case basis, most share a similar structure. They begin with a mental and physical evaluation to allow the program to be customized for the individual. If the program is for substance abuse, the patient goes through detox to get clean (medical monitoring is available if needed). Once detox is done, the patient begins therapy to deal with the psychological issues that may have led to addiction and to learn the coping skills needed to prevent relapse.

Patients attending for mental health issues will receive comprehensive mental health care, therapy, medication management, and any other needed services. Once the patient is making positive progress and capable of managing their symptoms, the focus transitions to living life successfully outside of the treatment program. Eventually the program shifts to aftercare — a maintenance phase in which the patient continues therapy and medical care as needed, and participates in peer support or 12-step recovery groups.

What Are The Benefits Of Partial Hospitalization Programs?

Partial Hospitalization Programs offer several benefits when compared to residential or outpatient treatment programs, the greatest being the ability for patients to spend their nights at home. Other benefits are access to medical professionals, mental health specialists, and all needed treatment types in the same place; a lower cost than inpatient care (insurance may cover more sessions, and there are no room and board costs); a safe transition from inpatient care to real life; effective education programs; and flexible schedules so patients can stay at work, in school, or deal with family responsibilities.

PHP program costs depend on location, services/amenities provided, length of the program, level of care needed, and insurance coverage (insurance or Medicare may cover all or several of the treatments).

Partial Hospitalization Programs are some of the most effective programs for resolving addiction and mental health issues and have helped people regain control of their lives. PHPs allow patients to be more independent while undergoing treatment, bringing a number of positive benefits to the recovery process. They provide treatment with fewer interruptions, increase the ease of staying clean, and significantly reduce the chance of relapse. Having a “single source” for all treatment needs makes the process more convenient, encouraging people to stick with it until completion.

However, PHPs are not for everyone. Most require a time commitment — patients must attend every daily session (promptly) for a minimum number of days. The patient must be willing to commit themselves to the program and be living in a stable and supportive home.

Why Choose Into Action Recovery Centers?

Into Action Recovery Centers takes pride in providing a high level of treatment and a holistic approach to recovery for those who suffer from addiction. Our comfortable facility is designed with the client’s needs foremost in mind. Our staff includes master’s level counselors, licensed chemical dependency counselors, 24-hour nursing professionals, a staff psychiatrist, a staff chef, and direct care personnel. Our counseling staff provides individualized treatment and care for our clients with an emphasis on tailoring treatment to the specific needs of each individual. Additionally, our staff provides family counseling, relapse prevention, life skills, and grief and trauma counseling.

Into Action Recovery Centers provides an abstinence-based program and all of our staff members have a strong understanding of the recovery process through personal experience. We are passionate about sharing the process involved in living a drug and alcohol-free life. We offer free aftercare for the men who complete our program and have a strong alumni network that remains active in the community. We also offer other amenities such as dietician-prepared meals, mindfulness-based meditation training, outings, and fitness training.

Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

Dr. Saeed is a psychiatry specialist with over 40 years of experience in the medical field. He received training in General Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was selected as the Medical Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves as the medical director at Into Action Recovery Centers. Full Bio

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