Partial Hospitalization Program for Depression: A Comprehensive Guide to Recovery

Learn more about what to expect from a partial hospitalization program for depression and how to find a PHP near you.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects emotions, thoughts, and behavior. WHO estimates that more than 264 million people around the globe suffer from depression. In the United States, 21 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. A partial hospitalization program for depression is an excellent treatment option during these episodes.1

Partial Hospitalization Program Vs Intensive Outpatient Treatment Whats The Difference Img2

What Causes Depression?

There is no single cause of depression, as it usually results from a combination of factors. These factors include genetic vulnerability, hormonal imbalances, chronic stress, trauma, and certain medications. Sometimes, a significant life event can trigger a depressive episode. This could include losing a loved one or a major change in one’s life circumstances.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Identifying depression helps determine when a partial hospitalization program for depression is necessary. Common signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, or “emptiness”
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Appetite or weight changes
    Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease with treatment

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek professional help. A partial hospitalization program for depression can provide comprehensive treatment and support.

Types of Depression

Depression can manifest in various forms. Understanding the different types is essential for determining the appropriate treatment approach. A partial hospitalization program for depression can help by offering tailored treatment plans.

Below are some common types of depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

This is the most common form of depression. It’s characterized by intense feelings of sadness and despair. MDD impacts daily functioning and can last for weeks or even months.2

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

This is a chronic form of depression. Dysthymia is characterized by a depressed mood lasting at least two years. The symptoms may be less severe than major depression. However, they can still impact daily functioning.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves alternating periods of depression and mania. The depressive episodes can look like MDD. Mania is characterized by elevated mood, high energy, and impulsivity.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD occurs during specific seasons with less natural sunlight. Symptoms usually improve during the spring and summer months.

Postpartum Depression

A form of depression affects women after childbirth and is more severe than the “baby blues.” It can cause extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. This makes it challenging to care for oneself and the newborn.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects a small percentage of women. It causes extreme mood swings, irritability, and depression. This happens a week or two before menstruation.

Atypical Depression

This is a subtype of depression with specific symptoms. This can include increased appetite, excessive sleep, and heavy feelings in the limbs. These symptoms may not fit the typical profile of depression. This makes it harder to recognize and treat.

If you are experiencing any forms of depression, a partial hospitalization program for depression can help.

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a time-limited, structured treatment for depression. It offers intensive support without overnight stays. PHPs offer a combination of individual and group therapies. It typically operates during daytime hours and lasts 3-6 hours. You are supervised by mental health professionals who can support and encourage recovery.

How is it Different from Inpatient Care?

PHPs differ from inpatient and outpatient care in several ways. Inpatient care requires you to stay at a hospital or treatment facility 24/7. This provides round-the-clock supervision and care. PHPs offer a less restrictive environment, allowing you to maintain some independence.

PHP vs. Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment involves weekly therapy sessions. It may not provide the support needed for those with moderate to severe depression. PHPs offer more intensive treatment, usually consisting of daily sessions for several hours. If outpatient care is insufficient, a PHP may be appropriate.

Support and Coping Mechanisms in PHPs

Leading a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life is possible. A partial hospitalization program for depression emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive treatment approach.

What to Expect

They offer a variety of therapies and support services. This ensures you receive the specific care you need. This holistic approach addresses both the symptoms of depression and the underlying causes.

During PHPs, you’ll learn strategies for managing depression symptoms. You’ll also learn to change negative thinking patterns. PHPs also provide support from peers who are going through a similar experience. This can help you feel understood and remind you that there is hope for recovery.

Is a Partial Hospitalization Program for Depression Right for Me?

A PHP may be the right fit if you’re experiencing mild to moderate depression. If outpatient care isn’t enough and inpatient hospitalization is unnecessary, a PHP can provide necessary support without completely disrupting your life.

Requirements for a PHP

Individuals of all ages can attend PHPs. They are used for adolescents and adults who need intensive but less restrictive care than inpatient treatment. It’s also the preferred option for those transitioning from inpatient programs to outpatient care.

Questions to Ask

If you’re considering a partial hospitalization program for depression, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety interfere with daily life?
  • Am I overwhelmed and unable to cope with challenging situations?
  • Am I having difficulty managing my relationships, work, or school?
  • Am I giving up on life?
    Do I have trouble focusing and completing tasks?
  • Am I having difficulty controlling my emotions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to consider a partial hospitalization program.

Can You “Fail Out” Of A PHP?

PHPs are voluntary programs. You can leave at any time, and you won’t be forced to stay if it isn’t the right fit for you. But leaving too soon is not recommended. It could disrupt your progress and decrease your chances of a successful recovery.

It’s important to remember that recovery takes time. Don’t expect overnight success—it may take several months or even years before you feel like your old self again.3

Treatment in a Partial Hospitalization Program for Depression

Psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment in partial hospitalization programs for depression. Several evidence-based therapies are used in PHPs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns that contribute to depression. CBT teaches you to replace these thoughts with more positive ones.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT, a CBT variant, focuses on emotion regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. It’s especially helpful for those with severe symptoms or self-destructive behaviors.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT examines the role of relationships in depression, enhancing communication and problem-solving skills. This helps create healthier relationships and reduces depressive symptoms.

Group Therapy

Group therapy encourages sharing experiences, learning from others, and building a support network. In a partial hospitalization program for depression, it often takes the form of a support group.

Other Therapies

Some PHPs offer therapies like psychodynamic therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These approaches supplement core therapies and support your recovery journey.

A partial hospitalization program for depression provides various approaches to psychotherapy. Engaging in these therapies helps you gain skills and insights to manage symptoms.

Medication Management in PHPs for Depression

Medication management is a key component of a partial hospitalization program for depression. Doctors will find the most effective medication regimen to reduce your symptoms. Some common medications for depression treatment are detailed below.


These medications are designed to balance brain chemicals associated with mood. Examples include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).4

Mood Stabilizers

Mood stabilizers often treat bipolar disorder, which can involve depressive episodes. Lithium and certain anticonvulsant medications can help regulate mood swings and stabilize emotions.


Atypical antipsychotics may be prescribed to treat severe depression. These medications can help manage hallucinations, delusions, or agitation.

Other Medications

In some cases, other medications may be prescribed. This is especially helpful if there are specific symptoms or co-occurring conditions. These can include anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids, or stimulants(for ADHD).

In a partial hospitalization program for depression, medication management is tailored to your individual needs. Regular monitoring and adjustments to your medication regimen ensure optimal effectiveness and reduce potential side effects.

Alternative Treatment Modalities

In a partial hospitalization program for depression, alternative treatment modalities may be offered. These approaches can enhance your recovery process and provide extra tools. Some popular alternative treatment modalities are detailed below.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness techniques can help you develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. Meditation practices can also reduce stress, increase relaxation, and improve mood.

Art and Music Therapy

Engaging in creative activities provides a healthy outlet for coping with depression. Art and music therapy can promote self-discovery, emotional healing, and stress reduction.


The gentle forms of exercise focus on slow, controlled movements and deep breathing. Yoga can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength while promoting emotional well-being.

Nutritional Counseling

A balanced diet is essential for overall health, including mental health. Nutritional counseling can help you develop healthier eating habits. It also identifies any nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to mood imbalances.

By incorporating alternative treatment modalities into your recovery plan, you can benefit from a more holistic approach to healing. A partial hospitalization program for depression that offers a wide range of therapeutic options can support your unique needs and preferences, enhancing your well-being and progress toward recovery.

What to Expect Before and After a PHP for Depression

Before entering a partial hospitalization program for depression, you will undergo an assessment. A mental health professional will evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and support system.
In a partial hospitalization program for depression, you will attend therapy sessions during the day.

Each day begins with a check-in to discuss your feelings and goals. You may participate in individual or group therapy. You will also receive educational resources and guidance on managing symptoms at home.

How Long is the Program?

The length of the program depends on your progress and treatment goals. They usually last six to eight weeks. Your progress in the partial hospitalization program for depression will be monitored.

You may be ready for discharge when you show significant improvement and prove your coping skills. A team of mental health professionals will work with you to ensure a smooth transition.

Discharge Plan

As you near the end of your partial hospitalization program for depression, a discharge plan will be developed. This plan outlines the ongoing support and resources you need to continue your recovery journey.


Aftercare may include outpatient therapy, support groups, or medication management. Connecting to the mental health community is essential for lasting healing and recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program Vs Intensive Outpatient Treatment Whats The Difference Img1 2

Rockland Recovery’s Depression Treatment Approach

Rockland Recovery’s partial hospitalization program for depression aims to promote long-lasting mental health and well-being. With structure, accountability, and support, Rockland Recovery delivers a comprehensive and effective depression treatment plan.

What We Offer

At Rockland Recovery, a personalized treatment plan is designed for your specific needs. Our teams collaborate with you to pinpoint your strengths and challenges.

Our depression treatment goes beyond traditional therapy and medication management. We believe in treating the whole person. We can help address underlying issues contributing to your depression.

Furthermore, Rockland Recovery highlights the value of a strong support network. Our programs help clients and their families learn how to provide necessary support.

Contact Rockland Recovery Today

At Rockland Recovery, our goal is to guide you through treatment in a stable environment. We work to help you become the best version of yourself, free from the weight of depression.

Reach out to us today for more information about our available treatment options.

Table of Contents

Contact Rockland Recovery Treatment to Learn More

Our team is standing by to discuss treatment options with you. Your call is completely confidential and no obligation is required.

Call Us 24/7