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Partial Hospitalization

Drug and alcohol addiction can be tackled in numerous ways, from early intervention, through to the later stages of relapse prevention and aftercare. The entire addiction treatment process can be divided into three separate yet integrated components, with detoxification followed by rehabilitation and aftercare support. Partial hospitalization is an approach to rehab that involves intensive outpatient treatment for at least five days each week. These programs allow people to access medical and psychotherapeutic support while they carry out their usual work and family commitments. If you or anyone you know needs help overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to reach out for help as soon as you can.

What is partial hospitalization?

According to the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), partial hospitalization programs involve time-limited, medically supervised, structured clinical services for people with substance use disorders. Unlike other forms of outpatient treatment, this program needs to be applied for a minimum of five days each week, with an option for weekend and evening sessions. Partial hospitalization programs are available throughout Washington and across the United States, with this level of care either offered as an alternative or in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation. The type of therapy available in this program differs widely between facilities, with most programs based on either pharmacotherapeutic or psychotherapeutic principles. In a typical treatment session, patients will receive one-on-one therapy from a qualified counselor; with group and family therapy also available form some facilities.


Also known as medication therapy, pharmacotherapy programs involve the administration of medications to support abstinence and promote recovery. Opiate replacement therapy is perhaps the most well known example of medication treatment, with alcoholics and sedative addicts also needing medication treatment in some situations. During opiate replacement therapy, patients are given access to methadone or buprenorphine as a replacement for heroin or other problematic opioids. While this treatment does enable secondary opiate addictions, it has proved to be an effective form of harm reduction. Long-term medication treatment is also used to treat alcoholics and benzodiazepine addicts, with a gradual dose reduction of long half-life sedatives generally administered to help alleviate and manage withdrawal symptoms.


Most partial hospitalization program regimes are based on psychotherapy support, with individual programs based on motivational, cognitive, or behavioral principles. While medication treatment is sometimes needed as a method of harm reduction and relapse prevention, psychotherapy programs are designed to address the underlying emotional and environmental precedents of drug addiction. Common treatment models include motivational incentives, family therapy, 12-step support groups, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Individual treatments may include art therapy, moral reconation therapy, music therapy, meditation, spirituality and many more. Psychotherapy programs are applied at all stages of rehabilitation, with programs available during residential and outpatient programs.

Goals of partial hospitalization

Partial hospitalization is designed to provide comprehensive rehabilitation support for people with a wide range of substance use disorders. Partial hospitalization programs are designed for two primary groups of people: those who do not need residential treatment, and those making a transition from residential treatment to everyday life. Relapse is a common feature of drug addiction, and rehab programs help people recognize potential triggers and cope with difficult situations as they arise. If you or your loved one suffers from addiction, pick up the phone and speak with an addiction specialist to learn more about the benefits of partial hospitalization.