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Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are face-to-face medically supervised programs that involve intensive therapeutic treatment and clinical services. In PHP, you will live in on-campus apartments with the goal of easing into a home living environment. You will also go through a series of clinical and therapeutic treatments five or more times a week for six to eight hours.

Compare PHPs to our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

What is PHP?

Partial hospitalization is a key component of a long-term recovery program that starts with intensive care and then goes through a process of deinstitutionalization or learn to apply what you learn in the real world and gain more independence. Through this process, you learn to re-adapt to real-world situations and apply the things you have learned in therapy to avoid and manage triggers.

Who is Partial Hospitalization for?

Partial hospitalization is not for every addicted person seeking recovery, at least not right away. Someone who is addicted to opioids shouldn’t be admitted to PHP as a first step. They may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms that require 24/7 medical care. Moreover, they may be deep in the throes of chemical and psychological addiction and a lack of structure and supervision can result in relapse.

Instead, partial hospitalization is ideal for people who have completed fully-supervised detox and therapy programs. You may first require medical inpatient care with high levels of structure and supervisions. Then, as you progress in your recovery, you will be ready for the next level of the process. Partial hospitalization programs allow these patients to gain a little more independence while still having access to intensive treatment and therapy.  

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), partial hospitalization has also been used to treat people, particularly adolescents, with severe substance use disorders but don’t require 24/7 medical supervision. In these cases, teens learn healthy lifestyle choices and coping skills in a safe and supervised environment. However, when chemically addictive substances are abused, it’s generally best to first go through medically supervised detox.

Partial hospitalization may also be an option for addiction disorders that don’t require detox. Some substances may not be chemically addictive but they are still psychologically addictive. For instance, inhalants, most hallucinogens, and marijuana have a very low rate of physical dependency, but they can cause psychological dependence.

Because of this, they can have a negative impact on your life, even without a chemical addiction. Plus, other behavioral disorders like gambling addiction can have very powerful holds over their victims. In these cases, you don’t necessarily need detox but you can benefit from the high level of care PHP can provide.

What Happens in a Partial Hospitalization Program?

In partial hospitalization programs, you will attend treatment and therapy programs with a similar frequency to a full-time job. The minimum time requirement for PHP is five days per week and six hours per day. Each individual is different and programs are tailored to your specific needs. Because of that, their weekly treatment schedule may vary.

When treatment is completed each day, you can retreat to your own living space for the evening or for days off. Some facilities allow you to live off-campus in your own home, but this can be risky. You may still be learning about your triggers and coping techniques in PHP, and some of those triggers may be present in your home environment and neighborhood.

PHP Treatment Services

In partial hospitalization programs, you’ll participate in a number of treatment programs for several hours each day, including:

During addiction therapy, face-to-face interactions with your therapist may be the cornerstone of your recovery. Being able to process your progress in recovery and challenges you are facing and addressing concerns with a therapist or counselor is a vital part of partial hospitalization programs. Some people are able to open up more readily in a one-on-one setting rather than a group setting. Bringing up sensitive topics and concerns can be difficult, and for some, it’s easier to establish trust with a qualified individual more quickly than it is to trust a group. Conversely, if there are sensitive topics that a therapist would want to discuss with you, it’s safer and more appropriate to bring it up in an individual setting.

In partial hospitalization, you are able to sit down with a trained therapist for a safe, confidential conversation. They can help you through psychoanalysis and through cognitive behavioral therapy and provide focused and individualized feedback. One of the pillars of effective addiction treatment is that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. So, how much more important is it to be able to receive personal attention from a counselor that knows your addiction plan? In many cases, individual therapy is regularly scheduled in partial hospitalization. However, in some settings, it’s scheduled as needed.

While individual therapies are vital to receiving personalized feedback and direction through the treatment process, group therapy can help you develop psychosocial skills that can help in long-term relapse prevention. Group meetings involve one or more therapists and several people in recovery. In groups, you will be able to share your personal experiences and triumphs while making healthy connections with other people.

Addiction is often a disease of isolation. Addiction can cause (and is sometimes born out of) isolation and some believe one of the most important ways to combat addiction is to make meaningful connections. Through group therapy, you can learn how to make those connections that are vital to recovery.

Group therapy sessions can also help you gain insight from other people that struggle with some of the same challenges and learn from their experiences. Group sessions also give you a chance to talk about your frustrations and listen to feedback from several different perspectives.

It is often said that addiction is a family disease because it makes an impact big enough to affect the people close to you. It can be difficult to watch a loved one go through addiction with nothing you can do to stop it. Plus, family members often have a lot to learn about addiction in order to effectively help instead of hurt. Family therapy allows families to heal wounds and resentments that may have been brought about by addiction. It also allows an addicted person to learn about how their addiction has affected others.

Your loved ones can also learn the difference between enabling and non-enabling behaviors. For instance, even making excuses for an addicted person can be a form of enabling. If an excuse would shield them from a consequence of their addiction, it can be a roadblock to them ultimately seeing the need to seek recovery.

Family therapy is a good way for the people in your life to get involved in your treatment. Otherwise, any potential family problems that may have contributed or came out of addiction, will still be there after you complete treatment and return home.

Medication Management

Addiction can come with a number of medical needs. Long-term heavy use of certain drugs can cause ongoing health concerns. Alcohol abuse alone has been linked to heart disease, liver disease, cancer, anemia, and cirrhosis. Plus, drug use can cause other diseases indirectly; using illicit drugs can lead to unsafe practices that don’t necessarily have to do with the chemical’s effect on your body. For instance, heroin can be cut with other white powdery substances like flour or cornstarch in order to increase profit. Injecting such substances can lead to blood clots that cause gangrene, strokes, heart attacks, or require amputation.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drugs that are commonly injected like heroin, and to a lesser extent methamphetamine and cocaine, increase your risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other infection blood-borne diseases. Drugs that decrease inhibition can lead to risky behavior that can increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or suffering from a serious injury.

Because medical complications are a significant part of drug abuse, medication needs to be available in PHP treatment settings. In some cases, you may be prescribed medication for psychiatric needs as well.

In PHP, psychiatrists and medical staff members are available to discuss and implement a medication management plan. In order for treatment to be successful, meeting the medical needs of PHP participants must be a top priority.

Other Therapy Options

Again, the best addiction therapy is personalized to your history, personality, needs, and spirituality. PHP may offer a number of therapy options for your specific needs. For instance, if you have been through a traumatic event and you’re currently struggling to cope with it, treatment centers, including Ocean Breeze Recovery, can offer eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR therapy), which is designed to help people reprocess trauma.

Continued Recovery

PHP is an important stop on the road to recovery. The most successful addiction treatment starts with intensive medical inpatient treatment, scales down to partial hospitalization, and leads to outpatient programs. For those in recovery who have already completed inpatient programs, partial hospitalization is an excellent way to ease back into daily life.

This process of deinstitutionalization is essential to fostering real-world coping techniques for lifelong freedom from addiction. The goal is not just to help you become free of addiction in a treatment facility. Instead, it’s to help you learn how to live a healthy lifestyle so you can pursue positive life goals.

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