What You Need to Know About Enrolling in a Partial Hospitalization Program

If you have suffered from the effects of a drinking or drug problem, you may have been enrolled in or offered a place in a partial hospitalization program. The term can seem intimidating- hospitals don’t often conjure up pleasant images for most people. But the truth is that a partial hospitalization program is actually one of the most effective and immersive rehab programs for people who struggle with substance abuse. There are many different programs, called “levels of care” that are available to help people who want to be clean and sober but struggle to do it on their own. A partial hospitalization program is one of the highest levels of care available! In a partial hospitalization program, a patient is in “full-time” treatment at a substance dependence rehab facility. For many individuals whose lives have been negatively affected by drugs and alcohol, these programs can offer the intensive, consistent care they need to get their lives back on track.

Patrial Hospitalization Program vs. Residential Program

If a partial hospitalization program is full-time,does that mean sleeping in a facility? This may be be one of the many concerns that a prospective patient may have when deciding whether or not to seek treatment for a drug or alcohol problem. Yes, partial hospitalization means full-time treatment, but it’s a bit different from a residential program. In a residential program, everything happens on one campus or facility. Patients see their treatment team (therapist, case manager, etc) at the facility, eat meals in the facility (usually in an on-site cafeteria), and sleep at the facility in residential buildings. Essentially, patients live at the facility during their residential care program. It’s similar to staying at the dorms in college, with classes being replaced by group and individual therapy sessions.

A partial hospitalization program is different. Rather than living “on campus,” patients in these programs attend full-time group and therapy sessions, usually 8 hours a day. However, when they are not participating in groups, patients live at home or at an off-campus residence, where they have a greater degree of freedom and flexibility in their routines. Clients in these programs may be transported to therapeutic sessions, but return to their residence to cook meals, relax, socialize, and attend recovery support meetings. In these environments, patients still get the benefit of full-time care, while maintaining the freedom to build life skills, connect with a local community, and leave the treatment campus.

Levels of Care

In the substance abuse treatment world, there are several different levels of care. They are:

  • outpatient services (a few hours a week of therapy, with the patient living independently)
  • intensive outpatient services (10-15 hours of therapy per week, occurring over several different days, day or night)
  • partial hospitalization services (full-time day treatment, with the patient living off-campus)
  • residential services (full-time, on campus treatment and residency)

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program Like?

In a partial hospitalization program, patients receive various forms of care and therapy designed to assist them in recovering from substance dependence. Like many other forms of treatment, it incorporates a wide range of therapeutic methods. Patient usually work one-on-one with therapists during individual sessions where they address coping skills, trauma, relationship issues, root causes of addiction, and various other issues that can contribute to drinking and drug use. Patient also attend group therapy sessions, where facilitators and peers offer feedback and a space to process a wide range of emotions and issues. A partial hospitalization program may also include the following:

  • participation in outside recovery support groups, like a twelve-step fellowship
  • relapse prevention
  • vocational skills groups
  • case management
  • recreational activities
  • holistic therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, or yoga
  • psychiatric assessments and medication management
  • specialized therapies, such as EMDR or rapid resolution therapy
  • and many more!

Enrolling in a Partial Hospitalization Program

Choosing a partial hospitalization program is often the best choice for individuals who need full-time treatment for a substance problem, but who also want to maintain the normalcy that comes with living outside of an institution. Enrolling in a program like this allows for recovery and intensive therapeutic work, but balances those goals with the ability to maintain an outside support group and work on life skills and routines in a regular environment. If you are suffering with a drinking or drug use problem, a partial hospitalization program may be for you.

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