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Partial Hospitalization Programs for Substance Use Disorders

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, there are several treatment types to choose from. Depending on your individual needs and the substance being misused, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) may be an appropriate level of care, or as continuing care following inpatient treatment.

What Is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a type of outpatient treatment program that caters to people struggling with addiction. Typically, a person entering a PHP requires a higher level of care than standard outpatient care provides. People in a PHP receive comprehensive treatment services and medical monitoring during the day, but don’t stay overnight at the facility.

A PHP is sometimes referred to as a day treatment program, which offers outpatient addiction treatment services such as drug counseling, individual and group therapy, access to medical care, and medication if needed. If a person needs immediate medical attention, they work closely with hospital centers to make sure people get the help they need. There is also easy access to higher levels of care if needed.2

People typically attend the recovery center 3 to 5 days a week for about 4 to 6 hours each day, while still residing at home. A PHP is a more intensive program than typical outpatient programs, which may only meet once or twice a week.3

Individuals entering a partial hospitalization program may be using it as a “step-down” service after receiving treatment in an inpatient program.2 Partial hospitalization is best for people who do not require 24-hour supervision, but who would still benefit from a high level of support.

Services in Partial Hospitalization Programs

Before treatment services begin, the staff assess the person’s needs and develop an individualized treatment plan based on the person’s substance misuse and other co-occurring mental or physical health conditions.

People in a PHP may work closely with several different treatment professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists. Below are the typical services offered in a PHP program near you:

  • Detox: Not every facility will offer medically supervised detox, but some partial hospitalization programs have physicians available to provide people with medication while they safely detox from drugs or alcohol. PHPs that offer detox generally only treat those with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.2 Individuals with severe or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms may require the supervision and medical support offered by a professional detox facility prior to enrolling in a PHP for ongoing treatment.
  • Medical services: Nurses and doctors are on staff to administer medication and treat any complications as a result of substance misuse or other health conditions.
  • Medication management: People may benefit from medication when recovering from certain types of substance misuse. FDA-approved medications have certain purposes like helping to decrease cravings, block the rewarding effects of alcohol or certain drugs, and manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.1
  • Individual therapy: The person meets with a therapist or drug counselor one-on-one to work on unhealthy behaviors to help maintain long-term abstinence and recovery.
  • Group counseling: Group counseling sessions tend to focus on one specific topic or skill and are facilitated by a certified mental health professional. Topics include educational groups, relapse prevention, stress management, coping skills, life skills, recreational activities and team building, and family education and therapy.
  • Aftercare planning: Treatment teams prepare a person for leaving treatment by creating an aftercare plan, which may include relapse prevention tactics such as support groups, 12-step programs, sober living homes, or group or individual counseling.
  • Holistic treatments: Depending on the recovery facility, some PHPs may offer holistic treatment options, such as yoga, meditation, nutrition, equine therapy, fitness classes, and art and music therapy.

Further, many partial hospitalization programs are equipped to treat people with co-occurring disorders. If you or someone you love has a psychiatric condition and struggles with drug or alcohol misuse, a PHP program may be beneficial if it meets the level of care needed.

How Long Does a PHP Last?

The length of a partial hospitalization or day treatment program varies greatly depending on the person’s needs. Each PHP has a different approach, and every person is unique. For treatment to be most effective, it needs to be for an adequate length of time so a person can establish healthy patterns of behavior.5

While enrolled in a PHP, the participant will generally attend treatment 5 days a week, for about 4 to 6 hours each day, then return home in the evening.3

Once someone completes a PHP, he or she may transition to a standard outpatient program that meets 1 to 2 times per week, in order to maintain sobriety and stability.

Why Choose a PHP Program Near Me

Before deciding on a partial hospitalization program or another type of treatment, it’s important to remember that no one treatment type is best for everyone.5 Some people may be more likely than others to benefit from a PHP, particularly if they don’t need 24-hour supervision or are suffering a relapse.

In general, a PHP is best for those who:2

  • Require close medical supervision, but don’t need it 24 hours a day.
  • Need more support than traditional outpatient programs provide.
  • Have stable housing and transportation.
  • Have a strong support system at home.
  • Need to continue working or going to school.
  • Have only mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.

What Does a Partial Hospitalization Program Cost?

Partial hospitalization program costs will vary based on several factors like the length of the program, how much insurance covers, location, and services offered. Typically, a PHP costs less than a residential or inpatient treatment rehab program because you’re not staying overnight at the facility.

Each insurance plan is different, but many insurance providers offer some level of coverage for addiction treatment since it is now considered an essential health benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).4 This means that many insurance companies choose to cover substance abuse treatment programs to the same degree that they cover other medical conditions. That said, some treatment facilities don’t accept Medicare and Medicaid or certain insurance providers, so it’s important to check your coverage before choosing a program.

Paying for your recovery can seem overwhelming. But there are a variety of ways to finance your treatment if you don’t have insurance or your insurance only provides partial coverage.

Payment options for addiction treatment may include:

  • Sliding scale: Many recovery programs understand the hardship of paying for treatment and will often create an individualized payment plan based on what people can realistically afford.
  • Grants and scholarships: Some PHP facilities may offer grants or scholarships based on a person’s needs and qualifications.
  • Payment plans: Many facilities will work with you to create a payment plan that works for you.

Find a Partial Hospitalization Program Near You

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, help is available. Call American Addiction Centers’ confidential helpline at to speak with an admissions navigator and learn about treatment options at AAC facilities, like a partial hospitalization program. They can also assist with other addiction-related resources to help you find the treatment you need today. You can check your insurance benefits online now.

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