Inpatient Rehab vs. PHP: Which One Is Right for Me?

Working toward recovery from substance abuse usually requires professional intervention. Navigating the treatment options can be overwhelming, though. There are multiple levels of care and treatment settings available. Two prominent options are inpatient rehab and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).

These programs offer high support and therapy but differ in structure, duration and intensity.

An Overview of Inpatient Rehab Addiction Treatment

Inpatient rehabilitation, also called residential treatment, is a comprehensive treatment program. It’s designed to address substance abuse as well as mental health disorders. The setting is structured in a residential treatment facility.

Compared to outpatient programs, where you return home after your treatment sessions, inpatient rehab requires you to live full-time in the facility for the duration of treatment. The length of time you’re in an inpatient program can range from weeks to months.

The key principle of inpatient rehab is the provision of a supportive, therapeutic environment where you can focus exclusively on your recovery journey without distractions and triggers that occur in daily life.

The structured treatment usually involves individual and group therapy, medical supervision, holistic activities and education sessions.

Key features of many inpatient programs at a treatment center include:

  • Medical detoxification: If you’re struggling with substance abuse, an inpatient rehab program will usually offer medically supervised detox to safely manage your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Therapeutic interventions: Inpatient rehab delivers a range of evidence-based therapies. These aim to address underlying issues that contribute to addiction or mental health disorders and teach coping mechanisms for relapse prevention. Therapy approaches might include motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and family therapy.
  • 24/7 support: A primary benefit of inpatient rehab is the around-the-clock support and supervision trained therapists and medical professionals provide. Constant availability can ensure that if you face challenges or a crisis, help will be available immediately.
  • Structured routines: During an inpatient program, you follow a structured daily schedule, including therapy, mealtimes, recreation and downtime. This helps to create accountability, discipline and healthy habits, which are important for long-term recovery.
  • Peer support: Living with other people going through similar challenges builds camaraderie and empathy. Peer support groups are often an important part of an inpatient program for sharing insight and experiences.
  • Holistic approach: An inpatient program will incorporate holistic activities like yoga, art, creational activities, and mindfulness to complement traditional evidence-based interventions and promote overall well-being.

Inpatient rehab is overall an immersive, comprehensive treatment approach that can be extremely effective for many people dealing with addiction and possible mental health issues.

What Is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

A partial hospitalization program or PHP is intensive and structured, but it’s outpatient. A PHP delivers comprehensive care similar to inpatient rehab, with a high level of support compared to traditional outpatient rehab. The main difference between inpatient treatment and a PHP is that you return home in the evenings or to a sober living house.

The goal of a PHP is to provide you with tools, support and therapy to manage conditions while still maintaining independence and involvement in your daily life.

You might attend treatment sessions several hours daily, usually five days a week.

A PHP will offer therapeutic approaches similar to what’s found in inpatient rehab, like individual, group and family therapy. There’s also access to medication management and psychiatric care in many PHPs.

A PHP will often offer a continuum of care so that a person can transition from higher care levels to a PHP and, when ready, to a less intensive outpatient program.

The benefits of these programs include more flexibility and autonomy than inpatient rehab. It can be an accessible option if you require intensive treatment but can’t commit to a residential program for any reason.

Inpatient Rehab vs. PHP

When comparing an inpatient rehab vs. PHP, the following are some differences to keep in mind:

  • Intensity: An inpatient program is the most intensive level of care. PHPs offer a high level of intensity but less so than inpatient treatment.
  • Structure: In inpatient rehab, you follow a very structured schedule, and the same is true for a PHP, but there’s more flexibility in terms of living environment.
  • Support: During inpatient rehab, you receive comprehensive support from trained professionals; the same applies to a PHP.
  • Suitability: Inpatient treatment is well-suited to someone with severe substance use or mental health disorders, people requiring medical detox, and people with co-occurring conditions. A PHP is suitable for a person who needs intensive treatment but has a stable home environment. They could be appropriate for someone transitioning from inpatient rehab or with a strong support system. A PHP can also be a good option for someone with moderate to severe substance use disorders not requiring 24/7 support but still needing intensive therapy.
  • Family involvement: Inpatient rehab programs will often integrate family therapy sessions or educational workshops to involve loved ones in your recovery process and address family dynamics that could be contributing to your mental health or substance use disorder. A PHP may also have some level of family therapy, but it’s typically to a lesser extent because it’s outpatient.
  • Duration: Inpatient rehab usually lasts weeks to months, depending on your needs and progress. A PHP may be more flexible in treatment duration, so you could transition to less intensive outpatient programs as you’re making progress in your recovery journey.
  • Cost: in general, an inpatient program will be more expensive than a PHP because of the around-the-clock residential care, but the cost of treatment can vary depending on factors like the location and amenities of the facility and the level of specialization. Many insurance plans provide coverage for inpatient rehab and PHPs. Still, details may vary, so you must verify your health insurance benefits before starting residential or PHP treatment programs.

The decision between inpatient rehab and a partial hospitalization program can be made based on your individual needs, the severity of your condition, the level of available support and personal preferences.

When you understand the difference between the two treatment options, you can work to find what’s right for you and cultivate meaningful progress on your long-term recovery journey.

Get Help Now

As a Joint Commission-accredited drug and alcohol rehab, The Best Treatment Center is recognized for providing unparalleled medical and clinical care. We offer four treatment programs in Lantana, Florida: partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient programming (IOP), and outpatient treatment (OP) to provide each and every one of our patients with a full continuum of care. If you’re serious about getting sober and staying sober, reach out to us today.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.