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Partial Hospitalization


Partial hospitalization is a form of outpatient treatment, the category of treatment in which patients visit a drug or alcohol treatment facility for appointments during the day and return to their home or sober living community at night. These outpatient treatment programs have different levels of time demand that they put on the patient. Partial hospitalization is generally the most time-consuming of the outpatient treatment options.

Patients generally spend five to seven days per week undergoing treatment in a partial hospitalization program. Partial hospitalization is a commitment akin to a full-time job, as most of the patient’s day will be taken up with individual counseling, group therapy and substance abuse support group meetings. The exact amount of time is determined by each individual facility. If the facility is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), there is a requirement that they make their services available at least five days out of every week, but that does not mean that the treatment program will necessarily be five days in length.

Partial hospitalization programs are generally available on weekends for those that need them. The schedule is very similar to that of other types of outpatient treatment programs, there is just an increased frequency of various types of meetings and appointments. Partial hospitalization is most frequently recommended when there is a “dual diagnosis”, or the patient will need mental health treatment in addition to their substance abuse counseling. But partial hospitalization also makes time available to add in complementary therapies to the mix, such as art and equine therapy.

Who is a Good Candidate for Partial Hospitalization?

As previously mentioned, partial hospitalization is most common when there is a serious mental health issue complicating the addiction treatment, as it provides adequate time to treat both conditions properly. It can also be used by those whose Wisconsin insurance plans only cover an initial 30 days of inpatient treatment, but who feel like they need a continuing high level of care after that period is over. Since patients undergoing partial hospitalization will be living outside of the facility, it is vital that they have a safe and temptation-free home to return to. Quite often, they will live in either sober housing or some sort of managed care facility.

Partial hospitalization may also be used as an option for those who are expected to have a short-term recovery period and who anticipate getting back to work immediately after their primary treatment is completed, such as working professionals and executives. The partial hospitalization option provides a similarly high level of care that an inpatient program does, but lets the patient continue to maintain their family life and their social relationships in a way that they would not be able to with an inpatient program.

How Partial Hospitalization Works

Patients will have a schedule of activities and appointments that usually take place over five to seven days of the week. One-on-one counseling for both mental health issues and management of substance abuse are the main focus of the program and will take up more time than other activities. But patients will also undergo counselor-led group therapy activities with others who are in a similar place in their recovery, and they will attend peer support groups such as the 12-step programs or SMART Recovery. Management medications may also be provided by the treatment facility for those with opioid addictions or severe cases of alcoholism.

When you are ready to become serious about your health and happiness, pick up the phone and reach out for professional assistance. An addiction specialist can guide you in the direction of a positive recovery and a future of fulfillment.