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What is the Difference Between IOP and PHP Outpatient Programs?

Last Updated on December 29, 2020 by Inspire Malibu

An estimated 24 million people suffer from addiction or dependency to drugs and alcohol in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that only 11 percent – 2.6 million – receive the treatment they need.

Partial Hospitalization Program PHP vs IOP Treatment Programs

The PHP medical abbreviation stands for “Partial Hospitalization Program.”

The IOP medical abbreviation stands for “Intensive Outpatient Programs.”

PHP and IOP are two options for people who have either completed residential (inpatient) treatment or for various reasons, others who personally or professionally, require an outpatient setting.

Unlike residential or inpatient treatment where patients spend 30 days or more at the facility, those in an outpatient program are not required to spend the night.

Outpatient sessions for both PHP Treatment and IOP Treatment are administered during the day, with the difference being the number of hours and days spent at the facility.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP Program)

A Partial Hospitalization Program is a good choice for individuals leaving residential treatment who understand that while they have more work to do in addiction recovery, a 24-hour setting is no longer necessary.

It’s quite common for patients to step down to PHP after inpatient treatment and sometimes again to IOP.

For others, a PHP program might be a needed resource after a relapse of symptoms that bring the disease of addiction out of remission. Though programs vary, PHP is generally 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP Program)

In an Intensive Outpatient Program, therapy sessions are typically 3 hours a day, 3 days per week.

While IOP treatment can involve one on one counseling, there is a focus on group therapy.

These sessions aim to help patients develop relapse prevention skills, as well as learn techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, depending on each person’s needs.

The length of IOP programs differs from person to person as they start to manage a successful recovery from addiction.

Benefits of a PHP Program and IOP Program

There are definitely benefits to using a PHP program or IOP program to complement an inpatient treatment plan.

In both a PHP treatment program and an IOP treatment program, patients can have individual treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. Treatment is administered by physicians, psychologists, nurses and other healthcare professionals similar to an inpatient residential plan.

Both PHP programs and IOP programs are more cost effective than a residential recovery program, but they all share the same goal of sobriety and relapse prevention.

Not all people who misuse substances or alcohol are considered addicted, but they may be at risk of becoming addicted. PHP and IOP outpatient programs can help them before it’s too late.

Many times a mental health issue such as depression can cause a person to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Before things escalate, a PHP mental health program is necessary to control the behavior before it leads to addiction.

“Our society and our health care system have been slow to recognize and respond to addiction as a chronic, but treatable, condition,” said Dr. Kima Joe Taylor, director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative.

“While change doesn’t happen overnight, if healthcare reform is implemented properly, millions of Americans will finally have insurance coverage for addiction treatment. This is an historic step toward a comprehensive, integrated approach to health care that includes treatment of addiction.”

For too long, people battling addiction have felt that their condition is insurmountable. Too many lives have been lost because the stigma of addiction kept them from reaching out for the help they desperately wanted and needed.

But as public awareness continues to surge, more and more people are getting help.

A record number of people will qualify for addiction treatment under the Affordable Care Act and experts forecast a two-fold increase in those seeking help at specialty rehab facilities.

Whether recovery takes place in an inpatient setting, a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program, addiction treatment can return people’s lives, relationships and aspirations.


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