Apr 15, 2023

Effectiveness of Partial Hospitalization for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) have become an increasingly popular alternative to inpatient treatment for individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders. PHPs provide intensive and structured treatment while still allowing participants to maintain some degree of independence.

This article explores the effectiveness of PHPs in treating co-occurring disorders, their advantages over inpatient programs, and the success rates of PHPs in reaching positive patient outcomes. Additionally, the article delves into the complexities of co-occurring disorders and the importance of personalized treatment plans in achieving successful long-term recovery.

Understanding the Basics of a Partial hospitalization program (PHP) 

The complexities of co-occurring disorders typically require comprehensive treatment. Sometimes dual diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary or holistic approach to treatment for addiction. We will look at the effectiveness of partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) for patients with a co-occurring disorder, how PHPs compare to inpatient treatment programs, and dig into some of the benefits of this level of care. 

partial hospitalization program is a structured, intense form of outpatient care designed to provide more support than other, more traditional outpatient services. However, it still allows participants to maintain some of the benefits of independent living and to be able to go about their daily lives. This is a stark contrast when looking at PHP vs. inpatient treatment options, with inpatient treatment structuring the individual’s life much more rigidly.

PHPs will often involve individual, group, and family therapy, with treatment plans designed by a mental health professional. They are created to address the needs of each patient. 

Patients in a PHP attend programming for several hours daily, generally five to seven days weekly. These programs will typically integrate evidence-based practices, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing, to help each work through and process their unique mental health and addiction issues

What is a Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder? 

A co-occurring mental health disorder is when an individual has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, such as drug addiction or alcoholism, as well as one or more mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This is also known as having a dual diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders can make effective treatment far more complex. All conditions must be addressed simultaneously to reach optimal recovery.

According to data provided by the National Institute on Mental Health, up to 50% of all individuals struggling with addiction, such as substance or alcohol use disorder, have at least one undiagnosed mental health condition. This means that, on average, those with co-occurring mental health disorders will account for roughly half of the people in recovery. 

While the research is ongoing, there is no evidence that drug use can cause mental disorders to develop when not previously afflicted. However, there are some indications that the problematic thoughts and behaviors that result from mental illness may exacerbate the issue of drug use or alcohol use, causing it to become a much more severe issue. Additionally, many individuals with mental illnesses, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, will self-medicate to reduce the symptoms of their condition. 

The Effectiveness of Partial Hospitalization in Treating Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

PHPs have become recognized as one of the most effective alternatives to inpatient treatment programs for individuals with co-occurring mental health concerns. They can offer a comprehensive approach to treatment, which often includes components like medication management, therapy in individual, group, and even family settings, and educational programming regarding addiction and relapse prevention.

One of the most significant advantages of PHPs over inpatient treatment programs is the far greater degree of flexibility they offer. Patients in a PHP can maintain a connection to their home environment and personal support network of friends and family. A strong support system has been shown to create more positive addiction treatment outcomes and boost the chances of successful long-term recovery. 

Additionally, PHPs offer an ideal transitional program for moving from higher levels of care to a lower level of care since the intensity can be gradually reduced as their recovery progresses. PHPs are also more cost-effective than inpatient programs, making them an attractive option for individuals who need treatment but can’t shoulder the cost of long-term hospitalization or residential care.

Success Rates of PHP for Co-Occurring Disorders.

There is a significant challenge to providing specific success rates for PHPs, given the essentially subjective nature of what success means to those in recovery. This is due to the highly individual nature of treatment and the wide-ranging occurrence of dual diagnosis. That said, some research has shown PHPs to be as effective as inpatient treatment in reaching positive outcomes for patients with co-occurring mental disorders. 

One study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment described how patients with co-occurring disorders who completed a PHP had similar reductions in substance use and psychiatric symptoms as those who completed an inpatient treatment program. Not only that but patients who participated in a PHP were also shown to be more likely to maintain that recovery progress over time, which suggests significant benefits for those with co-occurring disorders.

Another reason PHPs are so effective is that they are highly customizable and easily tailored to the individual’s recovery needs. A personalized approach that offers the opportunity to adapt the program’s intensity to the patient’s needs and comprehensive treatment can contribute to much higher success rates for those with dual diagnosis.

Getting Started in a PHP for Mental Health at Massachusetts Center for Addiction

Massachusetts Center for Addiction is the best place to start if you or someone you care about has been struggling with a mental illness. We can offer a comprehensive array of programs, treatment methods, medication, and general support. First, you must speak with one of our admissions counselors about your treatment needs. If a PHP is seen as a viable option, you can begin creating your personalized treatment plan immediately. Contact the Massachusetts Center for Addiction for more information or to get on the path to recovery.

MCA Staff
Written By

MCA Staff

The Massachusetts Center for Addiction expert staff is dedicated to helping individuals overcome... Read More

Contact Us



1515 Hancock Street, Suite 300
Quincy, MA 02169

Phone Number

24/7 Support

Start your recovery with
Massachusetts Center for Addiction

Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today and begin your journey toward long-term recovery.

MCA Contact Form