Partial Hospitalization Program

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Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a type of outpatient treatment program that caters to individuals with a substance use disorder, mental health disorder, or co-occurring disorders who require a higher level of care than the standard outpatient care can provide. Individuals in a PHP receive comprehensive treatment services and medical monitoring during the day, but they do not stay overnight. Partial hospitalization (often referred to as day treatment programs) is commonly used as a step-down service after an individual has completed a residential treatment program since they no longer require 24-hour supervision but can still benefit from a high level of support. 

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What is PHP?

PHP is an abbreviation for partial hospitalization program. PHP is a part-time treatment program where patients live off-site and visit an addiction facility several times a week, for 4-8 hours at a time. The time commitment is roughly 25-30 hours a week. PHP offers more sessions than IOP.

How does PHP work?

PHP typically requires an average of 5 visits per week and is typically 4+ hours per session.

PHP can be combined with other activities besides medical and psychiatric care to better ensure the success of the program. Because patients appear to be at a vulnerable stage in their transition, all available options for improving mental and even physical health should be considered, especially those that go beyond therapy sessions.

What happens after PHP?

The next “step down” from PHP is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), or an Outpatient Program (OP). These programs continue to reinforce the education and personal development, however, are shorter in duration than a PHP program and offer more time for transitional living.

How do I get started?

If you have used alcohol or illicit drugs within the last 7 days you will typically go into detox first, then be moved into a PHP program, if it has been 7 days or more since your last “use” then you may go directly into a PHP or an IOP program. Each is tailored to your specific needs.

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Medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy

Partial hospitalization for substance abuse requires a multidisciplinary treatment team that includes physicians, therapists, dietitians, counselors, and ancillary staff who can provide medication management, psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, relapse prevention, and positive coping skills. 

Medication can be given to help with cravings and prevent relapse as a way to foster long-term sobriety. 

Medication-assisted therapy is most often used for opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, and benzodiazepine addiction, as cravings for these substances can be the strongest. Methadone, clonidine, Suboxone, and benzodiazepines are the most common medications that are given in treatment. 

This can give the individual more time to develop tools to avoid behaviors and situations that might trigger a relapse. 

In the meantime, each client is undergoing psychotherapy approaches to gain knowledge about their addiction and the underlying triggers and how they can use positive coping skills and behaviors to overcome a negative thought process centered on cravings and using. 

Criteria for partial hospitalization treatment

  • Individuals must have their means of transportation to get to and from therapy and has a suitable environment to stay when not in the partial hospitalization setting 
  • Individuals who do not meet criteria for 24-hour monitoring but need more intense treatment than what is offered in an outpatient addiction setting
  • Individuals who are not actively suicidal or threatening to harm others
  • Individuals who are not acutely suffering from psychiatric medication side-effects and who are medically stable
  • Individuals who have been discharged from an addiction residential treatment facility and need step-down care
  • The individual requires structured therapy with monitoring by a physician daily for at least three days per week
  • The individual is capable of controlling unsafe or unpredictable behavior when not in the partial hospitalized setting 


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