What’s the Difference Between a PHP Program and IOP Program for Addiction?

What's the Difference Between a PHP Program and IOP Program for Addiction?

Choosing whether or not to seek treatment for addiction or substance abuse can be an incredibly difficult decision. There are many types of treatment programs, and understanding the difference between detox, inpatient, or outpatient treatment like a PHP program vs IOP program can be incredibly helpful.

Some people with a long history of use who face severe and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking drugs or alcohol will ultimately require a detox program before starting anything else.

They will also likely need 30 to 90 days of treatment in an inpatient, residential care facility.

For others struggling with dependency issues, people who might be unable or don’t quite require residential inpatient treatment, there are two different, but effective types of outpatient approaches to addiction: Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP).

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) for Addiction Treatment?

A Partial Hospitalization Program, also known as a PHP program, is a more comprehensive approach to outpatient treatment.

While a person might not be spending nights at the facility, the outpatient addiction treatment program is essentially fulltime, running 5 days a week for 6 to 8 hours a day.

Reasons for choosing PHP treatment can include some of the following:

  • Patients in PHP are free to leave at the end of the day, going back home or, in many cases, returning to a sober living community
  • Partial Hospitalization Program’s can be incredibly useful for people who have been sober and in recovery, but recently suffered a relapse and need follow-up care and supportive treatment
  • For recovering patients that just graduated from a longer stay in a residential facility, PHP’s provide continued reinforcement and structure as they grow more capable of maintaining and managing their hard earned sobriety

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Addiction Treatment?

A small step down from PHP’s, an Intensive Outpatient Program, or IOP program, is generally 3, maybe 4 days a week, depending on the program, for 3 to 5 hours a day.

Reasons for choosing IOP treatment can include some of the following:

  • An Intensive Outpatient Program is a type of outpatient addiction treatment that provides enough schedule flexibility that, in some cases, people can maintain a job or other responsibilities while getting the help they need
  • IOP programs are sometimes the next step down for a person leaving PHP, but is not quite ready to completely leave therapy
  • Many people in various stages of recovery find that IOP’s are effective in relapse prevention, especially if they recognize the onset of addiction symptoms and behaviors before experiencing a relapse

IOP Treatment vs PHP Treatment

What Kinds of Therapies are Involved in PHP Treatment and IOP Treatment?

In both outpatient approaches, counselors work with their individual clients to assess, develop and deploy the most effective therapies.

These will often include regular one-on-one counseling sessions and family counseling sessions. Group therapy and relapse prevention programs are also common.

Why Are PHP and IOP Programs So Important?

Less than 20 percent of the millions and millions of Americans that struggle with a substance use disorder actually get the treatment they need, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Here are some reasons why more people don’t go to addiction treatment:

  • In remote, rural parts of the country there are fewer healthcare options, including easy access to professional, medically supervised addiction treatment
  • A particularly detrimental symptom of dependence is denial – a person living with alcoholism or drug abuse has to see that they need help to overcome the physical and psychological grip of addiction
  • Finally, there is simply a lack of education about the many different types of treatment that are available, including outpatient programs

This is why it’s so important to know what kind of treatment program will be the most beneficial for the unique challenges that every person deals with.

Learning that there are outpatient treatment facilities is often the turning point for people who are unwilling to upend their lives for up to three months in a rehab treatment center.

Either a PHP program or an IOP program can be a safe and effective way for people to get sober, deal with the underlying issues that drive self-destructive choices, establish a support network, and rebuild a happy, healthy life.