Fifth Step: PHP or IOP
At Mountain Springs, the ongoing care of our clients — including understanding what stage of treatment you are in — ensures the best possible addiction recovery.
Fifth Step: PHP or IOP
At Mountain Springs, the ongoing care of our clients — including understanding what stage of treatment you are in — ensures the best possible addiction recovery.

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The Difference Between PHP & IOP For Addiction Treatment

Our staff always will work with you to ensure you receive the best possible care during your stay with us. That includes getting you the right treatment, and for the necessary amount of time. Getting pushed to accelerate your program to the next phase if you don’t feel ready isn’t always helpful in achieving lasting sobriety.

It’s important to note that insurance companies do consider several factors when they are in the process of approving treatment. Whether you stay at a residential facility or go right into intensive outpatient programming following detox, that will depend largely on what your insurance company has decided will be enough for you to have an effective recovery.

Usually, the best-case scenario for treatment is that you’ll go from detox to residential treatment — where you also get to practice sober living — and then to a partial hospitalization program where you will live off the grounds but still receive intensive (several hours’ worth) treatment, usually five days a week. That will keep you working with the same team of specialists, so you can further strengthen your recovery and prepare for life after rehab.

What is the Difference Between Residential and Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

Often, our clients will transition from detox over to residential treatment. This tends to be more effective for a person with a severe addiction, as it removes them from triggers and temptations because they live at our facility, relatively free of distractions. Our staff is always available to help during this challenging time.

Residential treatment is designed to care not only for your medical needs but also your mental health needs. We aim to provide a sense of security and safety while you work on building life skills and learning effective tools to help overcome addiction.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are more flexible than residential programs and can be ideal for people who feel more secure in their recovery. Both types of programs still involve a lot of therapy — both one-on-one and group — and the schedule is full of skills building and other tools to help reinforce sobriety.

What Is PHP?

When our clients enter a partial hospitalization program (PHP), many aren’t clear on exactly what it is. Partial hospitalization is sometimes referred to as “day rehab” or a “day treatment program.” During PHP the patient will enjoy many of the benefits they’d enjoy in a residential program, but they will reside off-campus.

PHP can be highly effective and many fare well under this type of treatment. Some PHP aspects are similar to residential treating, including:

  • Time – PHP lasts several hours (usually six), five days a week. Once finished with the day’s treatment, the client returns to their home or to temporary housing
  • Intensity – most PHP plans are as intense as residential programs in that you’ll be working on your recovery nearly the entire day
  • Treatment programs – in PHP these vary as much as they do in residential treatment. Individual and group therapies are part of the program, as are courses to develop life skills and healthier coping mechanisms

PHP can be a solid option for a lot of people, especially once they complete residential treatment but find they aren’t quite ready to return to day-to-day life. PHP can serve as a transition between residential care and independent living. In some cases, a patient might live at an on or off-site sober living facility as they attend rehab. As a result, PHP also can be an option for people at risk for relapsing due to withdrawal symptoms or triggers.

What is IOP?

For a person who has addictions that aren’t so severe or so long-term, or if they do not need medically-supervised detox, then an intensive outpatient program (IOP) can be a solid part of their recovery.

In IOP, clients spend a lot of time (usually a few hours a day, five days a week) working on overcoming their addiction. IOP has one advantage in that it gives more flexibility toward rebuilding your life, but it still has structure. Individual and group therapies as well as other treatments keep you focused on recovery. IOP also lets you begin building strong support systems, rekindle relationships, and sometimes get part-time work or start volunteering.

Before being placed in an IOP program, a clinical assessment will be done to determine if this is the most effective option. Completing acute withdrawal and not being in need of all-day monitoring are important qualifications. IOP can also be good for people who have a mild to moderate addiction, or for those who don’t meet the criteria for inpatient addiction treatment.

IOP can be good for those who want to get their lives back, or if they have responsibilities like children, pets, or jobs that they need to return to.

For a person still struggling with cravings and triggers, or who doesn’t have reliable transportation to and from sessions, or who remains in touch with people who encourage substance use disorder, they may benefit more from a more structured and less independent course of treatment.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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