Partial Hospitalization Programs
Addiction is a complicated matter that is difficult to navigate. Whether you have decided it is time to seek care for yourself or you have a loved one who needs help, finding the right program can be the difference between success and failure. Many looking for help immediately begin trying to assess whether an inpatient rehabilitation facility or outpatient support can provide the necessary care. Cost and convenience are both major factors in the decision, and sometimes lead to important intensive care options being ruled out completely, even when they are needed. Inpatient program can provide the most comprehensive levels of care, while partial hospitalization programs (PHP) seek to solve some of the issues with inpatient care.
When seeking assistance for you or for a loved one, it can be hard to evaluate options objectively. The intense emotions that result from addiction can cloud your judgment so extensively that making such an important decision on your own becomes impossible. Whether you are the person with the substance abuse problem or a person who has become collateral damage from someone else’s problem, a professional interventionist trained in handling substance abuse problems and supporting families through the recovery process can help you understand the options available to you.
If your loved one has resisted seeking treatment for his or her substance abuse problem, a family intervention may be the only way to get them into treatment before an involuntary intervention occurs. Involuntary interventions can ruin lives, and can be as difficult as or more harrowing to recover from than the addiction itself. These might include:
- Getting arrested
- Experiencing a medical emergency
- Losing a job
- Getting divorced
Family interventions focus on treating the entire family and can involve friends and coworkers to help convince the loved one to enter an appropriate treatment program. The benefits of using a professional include ensuring that the problem is not made worse through alienating the loved one or applying emotional triggers to everyone involved that will only continue the cycle of abuse. Other benefits include educating family members about addiction to help remove the stigma, and helping families find the right program based on their individualized needs.
Money and time are often the two most critical factors in addressing addiction. An interventionist can help set expectations, find programs that accept insurance or other benefits available to the person with the substance abuse problem and help determine what type of program can provide the best potential outcome based on the type of addiction.
Inpatient Programs vs. Partial Hospitalization Programs
Inpatient programs can be voluntary or involuntary, but generally require complete removal of the individual from their normal environment into a controlled treatment center or hospital. In this type of setting, the person can be monitored 24 hours a day for as long as they are admitted. When a person is involuntarily admitted to such a program, an involuntary intervention has usually occurred, either in the form of an overdose or another medical emergency, or a compulsory legal requirement after an arrest or as an alternative to incarceration. Voluntary admissions to these types of programs also occur, but can be costly. Depending on the financial resources available, inpatient programs may or may not be the most desirable option regardless of whether the individual is willing or forced to participate.
Partial hospitalization programs, also called day treatment, are not as widely known as other types of treatment programs. These programs create a more convenient and cost effective means for those needing more than outpatient care can provide, but without the financial commitment or complete removal from their life that inpatient rehabilitation requires. These programs were initially developed to treat mental health patients, and designed to provide the following types of skills:
- Coping skills
- Communication skills
- Symptom management
- Medication training
Since addiction is no longer considered mutually exclusive from mental health, treatment is often co-indicated, and techniques are the same or similar for treating other types of mental health issues. Partial hospitalization programs are considered a valuable transitional tool for those just completing inpatient treatment, and for those in recovery who are currently experiencing a high level of symptoms and are at risk of relapsing.
Partial Hospitalization Program Candidates
Teenagers comprise the largest population of partial hospitalization candidates where substance abuse is the primary diagnosis. The benefits of this type of program to that age group, in particular, are a result of additional supervision while parents are working. The higher level of care and educational aspects can provide a good alternative to more costly inpatient programs, while keeping the teen in their home environment in the evenings where they can be supervised by family members. Mental health issues are often thought to accompany addiction in teens, so partial hospitalization programs can work extremely well for addressing a multitude of problems in that age group. They also help avoid substantial costs to the family and disruption to the teen’s education that the separation required of inpatient treatment programs usually creates.
Other candidates include those at risk for relapse, where stressors or other triggers have recently manifested, or when the individual is struggling to adjust to their old environment after completing an inpatient program. Medicare also covers some partial hospitalization programs for some individuals as an alternative to inpatient care specifically, which is particularly important given the trends in alcohol and drug abuse among older adults.
Finding the Right Partial Hospitalization Program
Partial hospitalization programs are widely available. Finding a program that meets your financial needs or accepts your insurance benefits is likely going to factor into the selection. It’s also important to look for a program that specializes in addiction, not just mental health, while also addressing any other mental or physical health issues that might coexist with the substance abuse problem. If you are looking to admit a teen to this type of program, it is important to make sure the program can address their individual needs. This might include working around a school schedule or providing support for bullying, peer pressure, or other factors that may have contributed to the substance abuse. The program should focus on stress management, coping skills, and community integration regardless of demographics in order to help participants solve problems, learn how to better manage their everyday lives, and avoid relapse.