What’s the Difference Between IOP and PHP?

Are you searching for an addiction treatment program that will fit your schedule? If so, it’ll be ideal to consider either an IOP or PHP program. Both of these effective programs offer individuals with fewer restrictions than other treatment programs and overall flexibility.

PHP and IOP programs provide access to irreplaceable psychiatric and medical support. In the majority of the cases, either of the programs depending on the rehab center can allow you to reside at your place of residence, continue attending your job, and maintain your current schedule. Many individuals appreciate being able to uphold their lifestyle with little to no disruptions.

Even though both IOP and PHP are substantial treatment programs, there are numerous differences between IOP and PHP programs. Today’s blog will discuss IOP vs. PHP and how these distinguishable differences make a huge impact on a person’s overall recovery.

The time commitment is simply what makes an IOP different from a PHP in an addiction treatment program. However, the difference of a couple of hours can convert over to more differences in the amount of accountability, potential to backtrack, and support. You must decide on an addiction program that will be the most effective instead of the most convenient.

At first glance, an IOP and PHP program might appear to be replaceable part-time rehab options. Neither program involves the often overpriced requirement of living onsite at the treatment facility, which allows individuals to have access to more independence and freedom. Both programs give access to therapists, physicians, and medications if needed.

Ultimately, the way a person will decide between IOP vs. PHP will be through the following:

  • Whether or not you have been to rehab before
  • The severity of your addiction
  • Your budget


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How Can You Determine Which Program Is Best for You?

As this blog lays out the difference between IOP and PHP, ultimately, it’ll be up to you to decide which program is the best for you. PHP will give their patients greater access to medical staff, which will allow overall better monitoring of the person’s overall condition.

A partial hospitalization program is considered an ideal choice for individuals who:

  • Faced severe episodes of overdose and/or addiction, and have difficulties with managing their cravings
  • Are still undergoing withdrawal symptoms and might need further detox services
  • Completed residential treatment but still have a greater chance of relapsing

IOP treatment is generally recommended for individuals that have experienced the acute stage of withdrawal and don’t require around-the-clock monitoring. It’s also recommended for individuals that don’t necessarily meet the diagnostic criteria for an inpatient treatment program and struggle from moderate to mild addiction. IOP’s are the preferred choice for individuals who strive to get back to their daily routines.

Especially since patients are allowed to reside at their homes and will probably have more free hours in their day. However, it’s fundamental to remain honest and realistic about what your psychological and medical needs are and how much freedom you can handle. Even though it’s normal and expected to want to be finished with rehab, if you don’t feel certain that you have a handle on your addiction, it would be ideal to enroll in a higher form of care such as PHP.

IOP is not recommended for those who:

  • Have difficulty arranging transportation to attend treatment sessions
  • Can be exposed to people or situations that might encourage substance use
  • Would be returning to an environment that would ultimately trigger cravings

Being able to fully determine between IOP vs. PHP, and the difference between IOP and PHP will present as challenging. There are various acronyms, letters, and overall jargon that can be confusing and difficult to understand. Below are a few things to consider when searching for the most ideal addiction treatment program. 


A huge thing to consider is your financial standing. There are several ways to pay for treatment. It is required that insurance cover the behavioral and mental health services because they are considered important health benefits.

It is also suggested that you find out if you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid because they cover specific services. If you are unable to do any of the above-mentioned services, you are not out of options. Many programs offer numerous payment plans or even allow credit card payment. In addition, there are several loans and grants offered by institutions, along with crowdfunding.


The most important point is service setting. This feature of the program tends to be influenced by the following factors:

  • Practical day-to-day functions such as needing to work, study, take care of family, etc
  • Which step of the recovery process they are in
  • The patient’s limitations and lifestyle

Treatment options mainly fall under two categories: outpatient and inpatient. They define whether or not the patient would have to stay in the treatment facilities continuously or intermittently. It will also determine the simplest way to sharpen the recovery model that works best for you.

However, it’s super important to remember that there’s a big difference between what will be effective vs. what is the most convenient. Individuals who are undergoing a severe addiction or are too much of a risk to other individuals or themselves are often recommended residential treatment. Once residential treatment is completed, it’s common that some patients might not feel ready to go back to the real world and completely begin their lives from scratch, feeling that they might need to gradually transition back into it instead.

Some individuals might not need or qualify for inpatient treatment. Whatever the cause might be, there are outpatient treatment options such as IOP and PHP.

Time Commitment

There are short-term and long-term treatment options available for patients. The shortest length program that an individual will find is considered a short-term 30-day residential treatment program. These would be the programs that include therapy, and/or counseling, not just the detox process. The long-term treatment options can go from 90-200 days, depending on the severity of the patient and the service setting.

What is an IOP?

IOP stands for an intensive outpatient program. It is one of the several types of outpatient treatment available for individuals recovering from substance use. IOP provides their patients with psychological and medical assistance but with a minimal time commitment that allows the patients to return to their normal lives, such as caring for their children or working.

In this particular program, patients will only need to attend rehab or the hospital of their choice for their therapy, relapse prevention skills, counseling, and any other additional services provided that the patient might choose to become a part of or be recommended to. IOP programs require a couple, of short visits a week, typically nine hours a week that are divided into three sessions. The number of hours and sessions are flexible depending on the following factors:

  • How the patient progresses and improves
  • The initial and original diagnosis of the patient

However, because an IOP program isn’t ongoing like it is in an inpatient program, IOP’s tend to take a little longer to complete than inpatient treatment programs. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned circumstance in no way alters the overall effectiveness of the IOP. There have been several studies proving that IOP’s can be equally successful when correctly followed and prescribed.

Aside from individual counseling and therapy, IOP treatment also contains various other methods to ensure a patient’s full recovery from addiction. Group sessions and/or activities can serve as a great tool for a former individual struggling with drug use to gain support from like-minded individuals going through similar obstacles. They can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness, and also assist patients in gaining a better understanding of themselves and the overall process through others’ experiences, insights, and advice.

IOP offers:

  • Relapse prevention training
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy

What is a PHP?

PHP is the abbreviation for the partial hospitalization program. This type of addiction treatment program happens to be more intensive than IOP (intensive outpatient program) but less intensive than residential rehab or full inpatient.

Compared to an IOP program, PHP requires more sessions and visits per week. This type of commitment is similar to a residential recovery program, but unlike traditional rehab, in a PHP program, the patient doesn’t reside at the treatment facility. Individuals that attend this program have the decision to choose their housing accommodations.

PHP programs usually require an average of 5 visits per week. The visits can range from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the overall needs of the patient. PHP programs can be combined with other activities besides psychiatric or medical attention to better guarantee that the program will be successful. As patients generally seem to be at a more vulnerable stage in their lives, every transition that is available to them improves their overall physical and mental health.

PHP offers:

  • Mindfulness training
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • MAT therapy
  • Arts therapy
  • Yoga

Benefits of a PHP

There are numerous benefits of a PHP program. Every individual processes substance abuse in various ways. Several factors dictate which treatment option will be best, such as:

  • Psychiartic conditions
  • Level of addiction
  • Family history
  • Lifestyle

When individuals are in a rush to complete their addiction treatment program, it doesn’t indicate that they will complete their program faster. It can reduce the individual’s treatment effectiveness instead. A partial hospitalization program is considered to be the ultimate next step for an individual who has just left rehab or residential treatment but doesn’t feel stable.

As an intercessor between outpatient and residential treatment, patients will still have a notable amount of support from their treatment facility, but can still have access to the outside world. PHP programs can assist patients in adjusting better to the ultimate transition back to their daily routine. Furthermore, too much sudden freedom can be damaging to a recovering individual. When a person goes straight from inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment, it can put that individual at a higher risk of falling back into old habits. The time commitment of a PHP program provides a vital structure that plays a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of relapse.

Choose Between IOP vs. PHP at Achieve Wellness Recovery

Different cases will require different treatment approaches. IOP and PHP treatment are both meant to help an individual who needs help adapting and adjusting to a new sober lifestyle. While the recovery journey can be challenging, it’s not impossible. Let us be the proper support for your treatment needs. Contact us to start sobriety.

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