Partial Hospitalization for Addiction


You’ve decided to stop drinking or use drugs — a courageous and life-changing choice. Selecting a treatment center and level of care are, at times, overwhelming. What is the difference between inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs? It’s crucial to understand the differences to decide which type of program would be best for you.

Addiction treatment programs in the United States follow different therapy-based modalities and are continuously changing to reflect the latest research. A program that includes the 12-Step program of recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and other forms of therapy like yoga and meditation are considered holistic. Holistic programs look at the entire person and recognize a person is not a disease or a number; but a whole being who requires healing therapies that recognize their physical, intellectual and emotional needs. For this article, we’ll dive into partial hospitalization treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.

First Step: Assessment

When you go for your first appointment, you meet with a care coordinator. In some treatment facilities, this person will become your case manager. The care coordinator will perform a psychosocial assessment — a questionnaire that covers mental, environmental and health/living concerns. After completing the psychosocial questionnaire, the care coordinator can assess your needs, level of treatment needed and coordinate with you a treatment plan that reflects your needs and goals. From there, you start treatment at the level of care that is appropriate and begin treatment. Partial hospitalization rests between inpatient and outpatient levels of care. 

What to Expect from Partial Hospitalization Treatment

Partial hospitalization programs are for those who don’t require the intensive treatment offered by inpatient treatment programs yet need a more structured setting than an outpatient program. Your case manager will discuss with you what happens in the program. During your discussion, take the time to ask questions, convey any fears, potential obstacles and your goals.  When you are in a partial hospitalization program, you will either live at home or in a sober living home. You are not required to stay at the treatment center while you are receiving care. You will be assigned a psychiatrist. Within the first week or two of treatment, you will meet your psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will assess your psychiatric and medical needs. You will have the opportunity to have a minimum of one appointment a month with your psychiatrist.

Partial hospitalization programs are located at a treatment center. You will go to the center five days a week, four or more hours each day (schedule depends on the center). While you are involved in the partial hospitalization program, you likely will participate in.

  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Relapse prevention counseling, which can include anger management skills, communication skills, treatment for mental health disorders and several other potential relapse triggers.
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • 12-Step program – Some centers require you to attend meetings at outside sites while also in the treatment program

You have the option to include your family in your treatment. With your permission, family members can join you in therapy sessions. Family therapy sessions are helpful to your sobriety because they can allow you to discover triggers and put healthy behaviors in place. Your family can support you in your recovery process by working on behaviors that can trigger your urge to use a substance or drink.

Before you finish with your treatment, you will work with your therapist on building a recovery plan. A positive way to maintain your sobriety is to: 

  • Attend 12-Step meetings
  • Keep in touch with your therapist
  • Keep appointments with your psychiatrist when needed 
  • Have a sponsor
  • Attend care group meetings

The Benefits of Partial Hospitalization Treatment

Your enrollment in a partial hospitalization program can benefit your mind, body and spirit. Treatment in these programs encourages you to actively participate in groups, educational classes, individual therapy and learn and engage in the 12-Step program. The tools you learn while in treatment will help you maintain your sobriety. 

Positive aspects of this level of care also include the interpersonal skills you learn. Effective communication, recognizing triggers, coping skills, relaxation techniques and others build a firm foundation for your recovery. Incorporating these skills and others, you can learn how to identify healthy and unhealthy influences in your personal, social and public life.

Treatment can aid you in maintaining your motivation after you finish your program. The perceived harm of future drug use, your satisfaction with your quality of life, involvement in a 12-Step program, retaining relationships with support group members and your ability to abstain from use can decrease your risk of relapse. 


The decision to stop drinking or using drugs is a positive step towards a healthier life. The first step is calling a treatment center and making an appointment to speak with someone about treatment, what to expect and what level of care would work for you. Partial hospitalization may be the right level of care and Casa Palmera in Del Mar, California, offers such a program that can help you overcome addiction. To schedule an appointment, call (855) 508-0473.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.