Is a Partial Hospitalization Program Right for You?

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Although popular, inpatient and outpatient programs aren’t the only options for addiction treatment. Here’s why some people prefer partial care.


When it comes to addiction treatment, there are a surprising number of options. Many people need the intensive medical attention of inpatient programs, while others thrive in flexible outpatient programs. For those who need a level in-between, a third option is often a great alternative: partial hospitalization, or partial care. A partial hospitalization program (PHP) combines the structure of inpatient treatment with the convenience of outpatient care. This gives clients a flexible, cost-effective treatment option with the level of intensity and attention they need to recover. 

If you are exploring partial care as a treatment option for yourself or a loved one, here’s what you need to know.


What is a Partial Hospitalization Program?  

Like outpatient treatment, PHPs involve daily sessions at a treatment center but do not require an overnight stay. Clients attend 4 to 6 hours of treatment per day, up to 5 to 6 days per week. By contrast, outpatient programs may only require treatment a couple of hours a day a few days per week. Outpatient treatment is ideal for clients who need to balance their treatment with a job or family obligations, while partial care programs are best for those who need more structure. 

A typical day at a partial care program might involve individual therapy sessions, group counseling, and addiction education. Some programs assist clients through withdrawal, but they typically focus on mild to moderate symptoms. Clients who need a medically supervised detox should choose an inpatient program where staff can provide 24-hour supervision.   

Beyond day-to-day treatment, partial hospitalization programs offer assessments to identify co-occurring disorders, medication management and aftercare planning. Many also offer holistic treatments, such as nutrition counseling, meditation sessions, art therapy and yoga. 


Advantages of Partial Hospitalization

A partial hospitalization program is ideal for clients who need daily, structured treatment and access to experienced medical care, but do not require 24-hour supervision. Here are some of the specific advantages: 

  • The convenience of addiction treatment and medical services in a single location.
  • Access to structured care at a lower cost than an inpatient program
  • For those with a strong support system, the chance to spend time with friends and family throughout treatment 
  • The chance to return to the familiar environment of home throughout treatment 


Alternatives to Partial Care

The two primary alternatives to partial care are standard inpatient and outpatient treatment. At intensive inpatient programs, a client stays overnight to receive around-the-clock care, both for clinical and psychological support. Inpatient programs are therefore the best option for individuals who have become unable to manage life outside their addiction, or who need immediate medical attention. By checking into a safe and supportive environment, clients can leave potential triggers behind and receive the care they need to fully recover. 

Outpatient programs provide flexible treatment for clients in stable health who manage day-to-day alongside their substance abuse disorder. Outpatient programs are not a good option for clients who need a medically assisted detox or 24-hour supervision. The intensity and duration of outpatient treatment may vary by program, but clients can expect to spend as few as 4 hours per week in sessions, or as many as 10 hours per week. Programs typically run about 16 weeks, but duration is often dependent on the intensity and number of sessions each week.  

Whichever option you choose — inpatient, outpatient or partial care — aftercare should be a part of your program. A good facility will work closely with you to determine what support you need after completing your treatment. 


Is Partial Hospitalization Right for Me?

Partial hospitalization, or partial care, can be a happy medium between inpatient and outpatient treatment approaches, but that doesn’t mean it’s ideal for every person or every circumstance. Determining whether a partial care program is right for you depends on many factors, including your medical needs, existing support system, insurance, and day-to-day obligations. If you prefer to spend your nights at home and have a strong support system to help you avoid stress and temptation outside treatment, partial care may be a good option. 


Beyond Treatment

Completing a partial hospitalization program is only the first step toward long-term recovery. The next phase, called aftercare, is just as important as treatment. Aftercare may include counseling, group therapy, or a 12-step program such as AA and NA. It may also include ongoing treatment for any underlying medical issues. 

For example, you might need treatment for chronic pain or a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Developing healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and triggers for relapse is a final, important component of aftercare. Many find success with cognitive behavioral therapy or other forms of counseling. At Sprout, we provide aftercare guidance and support to all of our clients, allowing them to confidently enter the next phase of their recovery after treatment. 

To find the best path to recovery for you or a loved one, call the number below to speak with an experienced clinician about all available treatment options. 

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