Mar 3, 2023

Partial Hospitalization and Inpatient Treatment Differences

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) differ from inpatient treatment programs because patients go home for a portion of their day in PHP.

What is Partial Hospitalization (PHP)? 

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are one of several addiction treatment options for those recovering from alcohol or substance use disorder (SUD). Partial care offers a highly structured and intensive level of recovery care that still allows the patient to live independently or in a sober living facility. This level of care is for patients requiring higher care and support than a conventional outpatient program can provide. However, these patients do not require around-the-clock supervision or medical assistance.

While in a partial hospitalization program, patients will attend many different activities during each day in the treatment program. The patient will attend treatment sessions at the treatment center, often for at least five days, sometimes up to 7 days each week. 

Each visit will be several hours long and involve psychotherapy, addiction education, and various life skills training to help aid recovery and prevent relapse. Overall, entering a PHP can offer a much less restrictive treatment plan for those who need considerable help maintaining recovery but do not need formal residential treatment. 

The Benefits of PHP

Many benefits make PHP one of the ideal treatment programs for someone in addiction recovery. Here are a few:

Comprehensive Care

A partial program can offer much more comprehensive care than outpatient programs and a sorely needed structure to the individual’s life. This helps address the addiction but also any co-occurring mental disorders that may be present.


PHPs can provide a more flexible, far less restrictive recovery environment than traditional residential programs. Patients can attend treatment sessions during the day while returning home or to independent living at a sober living center afterward. This allows them to create daily routines and uphold responsibilities while getting treatment.


Compared to traditional inpatient programs PHPs are generally much more cost-effective since the patient won’t require 24-hour attention or medical supervision. This makes PHPs an excellent option for patients needing more intensive treatment who cannot afford extended residential programs.

Continuing Support

Another significant benefit of PHPs is that they allow patients to continue receiving crucial continuing support when stepping down from higher levels of care. Entering a PHP can help an individual maintain their recovery progress while continuing to work on building healthy coping skills and strategies for sobriety.

Increased Autonomy

One of the most significant benefits PHPs can provide is helping patients gain more autonomy and personal responsibility for their recovery journey. When individuals are actively invested and engaged in their recovery, they feel much more empowered to take control and, ultimately, ownership of their journey to recovery. 

Who would be a good fit for PHP?

Individuals considering entering or in treatment and thinking about a step-down may wonder about PHP. Partial hospitalization programs are best for individuals that need more intensive drug or alcohol addiction treatment but do not require or do not qualify for 24-hour medical supervision or psychiatric monitoring. 

They are often a good fit for patients who have already completed inpatient detox or an initial round of residential treatment. They also feel ready for a level of care that allows them to start having daily routines and independent lives again. PHPs are also a good fit for people with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Partial programs are best for patients that need structure and comprehensive care rather than constant monitoring or medical care.

PHP allows someone to continue their work, school, or home schedules. Its flexibility and types of treatments are perfect for someone with a busy life. 

Understanding Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment programs are a type of addiction treatment that provides 24-hour medical and psychiatric monitoring. They are generally for patients that have more severe addiction & withdrawal management needs. Inpatient programs can take place in a residential treatment environment, or they can take place in formal hospital locations. 

Of all the treatment programs, inpatient programs are the most highly structured. They require the patient to live at the facility full-time until the program’s conclusion. However, one of the many benefits is the unfettered opportunity to focus on recovery with no outside distractions. 

The Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

There are many benefits to participating in an inpatient program. One of the most significant benefits is that an unmatched level of care is provided. This care is in the form of round-the-clock medical and mental health care to keep the patient safe and comfortable. 

Another benefit is the rigid structuring of the day’s programs and activities. This helps the patients to build healthy routines that don’t revolve around drug addiction or alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. They provide a safe and confidential environment for building social support networks with peers in similar stages of recovery. 

Who is a Good Fit for Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatment programs are best for individuals with a significant requirement for medical care or potential complications. These complications occur during challenging detox stages or for those with co-occurring disorders requiring addiction treatment and mental health care. 

It is ideal for individuals struggling with severe addictions or who have attempted recovery one or more times without lasting success. Patients that do not have a safe, secure, sober environment to return to can also benefit heavily from the focus and trigger avoidance of inpatient treatment.

How Partial Hospitalization Programs Differ from Inpatient Treatment

PHPs and inpatients differ relatively little in the program offerings and treatment methods. Both provide very intensive treatments. However, the rigid structure of each is different. A PHP might benefit patients ready to take on more freedom and independent living. Contact the Massachusetts Center for Addiction today for help.

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