Partial Hospitalization (PHP) Addiction Treatment

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2019, 19.3 million people in the U.S. are struggling with addiction.1 This population is diverse both demographically and in terms of the abused substance, health condition, and other co-occurring disorders.

In order to cater to these diverse needs, it is necessary to have several different addiction treatment options, including partial hospitalization programs (PHP). Addiction is a highly individual disease and treatment programs that work for one person may not be the best option for everyone.

what is php treatment

What Is PHP Treatment?

PHP treatment programs are a great resource for people who do not require the strict structure of an inpatient substance abuse treatment program, but require more than traditional outpatient programs offer. These programs have a multidisciplinary team of professionals who can provide or connect patients to a range of services such as medically supervised evaluation, detoxification, and referral. Many PHP treatment programs in the U.S. have close clinical and/or administrative ties to hospital centers.2

A PHP treatment program is often offered as a step-down level of care for those who have just completed a residential treatment program. It may also be a step-up for individuals who suffer a relapse while attending traditional outpatient addiction treatment programs as well. People attending PHP treatment programs continue to live at home during the duration of the program and go to a treatment facility for several hours each day during the week.

PHPs will commonly have similar rules and structure to IOPs or residential programs while the individual is on site. This means that patients in PHP addiction treatment are required to adhere to structured programming and not use smartphones or communicate with the outside world during the time they are at the treatment facility.

Is PHP Considered Inpatient?

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a type of outpatient addiction treatment program where a person requires medical care and attention in a structured facility for around 20 hours a week, generally 4-6 hours a day, five days a week.

Individuals in PHP addiction treatment may not require around-the-clock medical care and supervision. However, they may also not be quite ready for a traditional outpatient program either. A PHP treatment program can work as a kind of in-between for these two models of care.

What Is the PHP Level of Care?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) encourages both treatment providers and receivers to think about the models of care as a continuum in substance abuse treatment, rather than discrete levels of care. The five main points on this continuum are the following:3

  • Level 0.5: Early intervention treatment
  • Level 1: Outpatient treatment
  • Level 2: Intensive outpatient/PHP treatment
  • Level 3: Residential/Inpatient treatment
  • Level 4: Medically managed intensive inpatient treatment

The Components of PHP Treatment Programs

Components of a PHP may include:

  • Detox. Mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms can be managed during PHP addiction treatment. However, more significant withdrawal symptoms may require medical detox in a more secure setting.
  • Medication management. Medications are often a beneficial component of addiction treatment and recovery as they can help to minimize cravings, manage withdrawal, and treat co-occurring disorders.
  • Medical care. Individuals may have medical needs that require attention and care by trained professionals during a PHP.
  • Psychiatric care and evaluation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that 9.5 million people in the U.S. battled both a mental health disorder and addiction at the same time in 2019.4 It is therefore important for addiction treatment programs to screen for, identify, and simultaneously treat any potential co-occurring disorders.
  • Group and individual therapy. Therapy and counseling sessions are some of the most important tools used during addiction treatment programs. Individuals can learn vital skills for improving how they think, feel, and act, which can in turn improve their behaviors, coping mechanisms, communication and relationship skills, and social interactions.
  • Educational programs, relapse prevention, and life skills training. Relapse is a part of addiction as a chronic disease. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 40-60% of those suffering from the disorder will struggle with relapse.5 Prevention techniques, coping mechanisms, learning how to recognize triggers, and education into the disease of addiction and recovery can all help to minimize relapse and help people to lead full and healthy lives.
  • Holistic methods. Things like spa treatments, massage therapy, yoga, mindfulness meditation, equine-assisted therapy, chiropractic care, art therapy, acupuncture, nutrition planning, fitness regimes, and more are all adjunctive and complementary methods that can be helpful during a PHP treatment program.

As addiction is individual, the choice of components of PHP addiction treatment may differ as well. In order to establish which treatment options are optimal, trained professionals first do a thorough mental health and medical evaluation upon or prior to admission into a PHP treatment program to determine which methods should be employed in order to best serve the individual.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.

Are Partial Hospitalization Programs Effective?

A PHP treatment program is generally more cost-effective than a residential program. It may also be covered by health insurance at different rates, depending on the person’s policy and coverage. For instance, Medicare coverage may be applied to eligible PHP programs. It may be a great resource for those who live in a stable home environment and who are able to safely return home each night.PHP addiction treatment can be ideal when drug or alcohol dependence is not as severe.3 However, it is not the most effective solution in the case of opioid, benzodiazepine, or alcohol dependence and/or addiction. In these cases, individuals should seek out a comprehensive medical detox program. Since withdrawal symptoms for these substances may be life-threatening, this process should be managed with continuous supervision of vital signs and mental health status. Withdrawal from other substances, or less severe cases of physical dependence, can be managed by a PHP.



Frequently Asked Questions