Iris Wellness Group Addiction & Mental Health Treatment Center in Chattanooga, TN

901 Mountain Creek Rd

Chattanooga, TN 37405

Phone Number


PHP vs. IOP: What’s Best For You?

Recent Posts

Need Help?

Iris Wellness Group is dedicated to creating a place of healing and growth for all that we encounter.

Our Location

901 Mountain Creek Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37405


PHP vs IOP in Chattanooga, TN
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Dr. Mohsin Ali MD is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Trained in Syracuse NY, he has worked in Tennessee for the last sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Navigating the world of rehab jargon is the last thing anyone wants to do when it comes to looking for treatment. There are a few different outpatient programs to consider when planning the next step in the recovery process. You may have heard of a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Perhaps you are unsure of the difference between the two and which is best for you. Here are the answers to some of your questions.

What is a PHP?

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is the most intensive level of care for patients in an outpatient rehabilitation program. It provides highly structured outpatient services meaning individuals are treated during the day and can return home at night. Individuals in a partial hospitalization program are provided with an individualized treatment plan. 

When being placed in a partial hospitalization program, patients usually take a “step down” from an inpatient program or a “step up” from a less rigorous outpatient program, depending on the analysis of their care professionals. Treatment in a PHP can be between 4 to 8 hours per day for up to 5 days per week. This time commitment makes a PHP the most vigorous level of care one can expect from an outpatient program. Depending on symptoms, a person can spend weeks or months in a PHP program. 

Some services that are offered on the schedule of a PHP include the following:

  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy and counseling 
  • Addiction and mental health education 
  • Holistic Therapy 
  • Case management

What is an IOP?

An Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is an outpatient program that patients visit a few times per week for counseling and continued substance use and mental health treatment. Instead of hospital-like treatment, an intensive outpatient program will help patients adapt to society. An IOP teaches individuals about recovery and using the skills they have learned throughout recovery in their daily lives. This type of program provides a structured environment for those seeking recovery. Some goals of an intensive outpatient program include the following:

  • Helping patients with re-entering society by helping with job placement
  • Teaching patients about healthy coping skills and problem-solving 
  • Addressing triggers and emotions that contribute to addictive behaviors

Although IOPs focus more on daily activities, a day in an intensive outpatient program can include any of the following therapies:

  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy 
  • Medical services 
  • Aftercare planning 
  • Relapse prevention planning 

The Differences Between a PHP and an IOP

A partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient program can sound the same when you do not know the difference between the two. Both of these programs offer similar therapy options, and both do not require long-term hospital stays. However, there are considerable differences when it comes to the two.

Time Commitment

A PHP is a more significant time commitment than an IOP. While an IOP only requires about ten to fifteen hours of a person’s time per week, a PHP can require thirty to forty hours. 


Because a partial hospitalization program is a more significant time requirement and a higher level of care, it is generally the more expensive of the two. However, depending on the individual’s plan, insurance can cover a portion of the complete amount of the treatment program.

Level of Care 

Level of care does not refer to the quality of care that is received from a program. If there was a hierarchy, the level of care refers to how rigorous each program is. While inpatient care is the most vigorous level of care, a PHP is a step down from that. A partial hospitalization program is designed as a “step-down” from the inpatient level of care. The next step down would be the IOP. 

Who Can Benefit From a PHP?

Partial hospitalization programs can benefit those who need a high level of care but do not require 24-hour supervision. This means that a care professional believes that symptoms can be managed well enough from outpatient services. In addition, a partial hospitalization program will most likely benefit people who:

  • Have completed an inpatient program but are at risk for relapse 
  • Are not making progress in a lower level of care 
  • Cannot or have a hard time continuing treatment on their own
  • Has a co-existing disorder 

Who Can Benefit From an IOP?

An intensive outpatient program is considered a “step down” from a partial hospitalization program. Whether an individual struggles with an eating disorder, substance use disorder, or mental health disorder, an IOP can be beneficial. People who benefit from IOPs include the following:

  • Those who do not pose a danger to themself or others 
  • Have a strong support system at home 
  • Need to continue working, going to school, or attending to any other obligations that they might have during their treatment.
  • Those that can motivate themselves to get treatment
  • Those that do not require constant supervision and behavior monitoring

When it comes to choosing between a partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient program, the best option is choosing to speak with a healthcare professional. Most programs will require a referral, but it can also be helpful for individuals seeking treatment to speak to someone who will show compassion and provide adequate guidance through the process. 

Ultimately the decision of where an individual is placed is based on the opinions and analysis of healthcare professionals. If you are wondering about what the best option is for you, considerable weight is off your shoulders. 

PHP and IOP in Chattanooga, TN

At Iris Wellness Group, our team focuses on helping individuals learn healthy lifestyle choices that can help them maintain sobriety after leaving drug and alcohol rehab. Once they reenter society, we offer both partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs to aid in the journey to lifelong sobriety. If you are interested in seeing how one of our programs can help you or a loved one overcome an addiction, contact our team today to schedule an appointment to see how we can help you. 

Share Post: