Partial Hospitalization Program

Addiction treatment can be scary. Although addiction currently affects 21.5 million Americans aged 12 and older (according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), it is still not a very well understood condition. Despite naysayers, addiction is, in fact, a disease, as recognized by the DSM-V. Therefore, it should be looked at as a medical condition that requires proper treatment in order to get it under control.

While there is currently no known cure for addiction, there are numerous addiction treatment options available to help you or your loved one get the help needed. There are inpatient treatment programs, which consist of attending full-time therapy while also living at the facility, and outpatient treatment programs, which involve attending part-time therapy while living at alternative housing. Partial hospitalization, or PHP, falls under the latter but provides clients access to in-depth therapy while enjoying certain freedoms and the ability to engage with the community at large.

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What is Partial Hospitalization?

Addiction treatment can be a little complicated. Levels of care refer to the amount of intervention on part of the professional staff (both medical and therapeutic) and treatment center. Keeping it simple, programs are considered partial hospitalization when they meet certain requirements. They must be available at least five days per week; PHP typically occurs during the day. They may also offer alternative hours as well, such as half-days, weekends, or evenings.

PHP may be freestanding, meaning a separate entity from a traditional hospital, or a part of a broader system of a treatment facility that offers the “full continuum of care”. The full continuum of care refers to multiple levels of care that act as a step down system for the client. It may also be conducted in an actual hospital. Regardless, it is always a distinct and separately organized program.

Partial hospitalization for substance abuse originally achieved its name by addicts and alcoholics attending intense therapy sessions in a traditional hospital setting from  9 a.m. until 5 p.m. When therapy was concluded for the day, patients would then leave the premises and return to their homes or whatever living arrangements they may have had. This is where the term “partial” hospitalization comes from.

Today, PHP is conducted in both hospitals and private facilities. While maintaining a distinct separation from residential treatment, which is considered inpatient (living at the facility), partial hospitalization is an outpatient level of care which still provides its clients intensive, full-time therapy. It is a non-residential treatment program which provides diagnostic and treatment services on less than a 24/7 basis.

 

How Does PHP Work?

Apart from the very specific conditions on which the level of care PHP is ascribed, the overall means of treatment very much mimic other levels of care. The primary purpose of partial hospitalization for substance abuse is to provide clients rigorous addiction therapy methods to help educate clients on addiction and fortify them against relapse.

During your PHP treatment, you’ll experience a variety of different therapy methods designed to help you overcome addiction. These different therapeutic approaches will address the multiple facets impacting addiction. The idea is to find the underlying causes of addiction, work through these issues, and supply alternative healthy coping mechanisms to utilize when faced with challenges.

In accordance with the full continuum of care, PHP occurs after successful completion of inpatient medical detox (focuses on removing substances from body and provides medical stabilization) and residential inpatient (begins to start more in-depth therapy while providing clients a safe, separate living environment). Partial hospitalization for substance abuse is intended to continue these therapeutic endeavors, while simultaneously allowing clients more personal freedoms.

 

How Long is Partial Hospitalization?

One of the key defining factors that determines partial hospitalization is the length of time spent in therapy as well as the length of the program. Since PHP for substance abuse is technically considered “outpatient”, less time is spent present in therapy sessions per week.

The average PHP client will attend therapy sessions for a minimum of 20 hours per week, typically broken into four hours per day, five times per week. Partial hospitalization programs are considered “short-term”, intensive programs for addicts and alcoholics. They can last anywhere from four to six weeks.

It should be noted; however, that these are merely averages. Every client is different and may have different needs. Depending on individual needs and progress in the program, a client may have to stay at the PHP level for a longer or shorter amount of time.

 

What’s the Difference Between PHP and Other Programs?

The main difference between PHP and other programs is the number of hours spent in therapy as well as the living arrangements. Since PHP for substance abuse revolves around providing substantial outpatient care for its clients, it specifically targets a certain demographic of addicts and alcoholics.

Clients who are perfectly poised for PHP care typically require a lower level of care than those in medical detox or residential care. They are already detoxed and declared medically stabilized, meaning there is no risk of having health complications as a result of the cessation of drugs or alcohol.

Partial hospitalization allows clients to experience the full intensity of inpatient therapy without the actual necessity of living on site. Clients remain in high intensity therapy sessions much of the week, but do not need to dedicate an entire month or more specifically for addiction treatment. They can return to their homes or alternative housing at the end of the treatment day. As a result of the flexibility of still possessing semi “free-reign” in their lives, a recovering addict or alcoholic may be able to continue to pursue employment or other interests. While still attending addiction therapy throughout the day, a client will also still be able to utilize the other portion of the day as they see fit.

For someone with a little bit more time under their sobriety belt, this can be an excellent choice for addiction treatment. Primarily, partial hospitalization for substance abuse is geared for clients who still need substantial therapeutic support, but may be able to actively participate with the community at large in a manner safe for remaining sober.

 

What Can You Expect from PHP?

While the actual definition of PHP can be a little bit confusing, it’s important to understand what you can expect whenever undergoing partial hospitalization treatment. There are very distinct features specialized to fit the format of partial hospitalization. It’s addiction treatment on an outpatient basis, but with more hours spent in therapy per week than one would encounter on an intensive outpatient or routine outpatient basis.

 

Living arrangements

As aforementioned, PHP is technically considered outpatient. That means in order to qualify as a PHP program, clients cannot live on property. That means the addiction treatment facility itself does not provide living arrangements for the clients. Alternative housing must be acquired.

That is not to say that the addiction treatment facility can not offer clients direction in finding alternative housing. Many times, PHP clients will live in sober living homes or transitional living houses. These are houses that may be either privately operated or state-run. Typically, these houses are correlated to a specific treatment program.

Regardless of the situation, at the end of the treatment day, partial hospitalization clients are to return to their own places of living. They do not pack up and return to a residence at the treatment facility or merely walk back to their own rooms in the facility. PHP days are conducted on a “part-time” outpatient basis.

 

Therapy Methods

While every single partial hospitalization program is unique and may have different treatment models, some of the various types of therapy you can expect to encounter are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Dual Diagnosis Therapy
  • Holistic Therapy
  • Individualized Therapy
  • Pharmacotherapy

These types of therapies all possess their own characteristics that make them effective in partial hospitalization for substance abuse treatment. All of these various modalities are specifically utilized to combat different facet of addiction which by nature is a very complicated disorder. Using a multi-therapeutic approach is typically more effective and yields better results than simply relying on one specific type of therapy.

Employing a variety of different methods also allows for a more individualized approach to addiction treatment. Every addict and alcoholic is different, so you may be more responsive to one particular type of therapy as opposed to another. By undergoing different methods, you’ll find what works best for you and from there a customized treatment plan can be crafted to fit your individual needs. An individualized treatment program is often the key to success in addiction treatment!

 

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