Feature Archive

Rehab's Role in Treating Addiction

Experts explain the treatment process at rehab clinics--for celebrities and for regular folks.

By Richard Sine
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Actor Michael Douglas, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, and former congressman Mark Foley might seem to have little in common, but there's one experience they do share: rehab.

Hardly a week goes by that we don't hear of some new high-profile actor, singer, or politician checking into a center to treat a drug or alcohol problem. And when a celebrity goes to rehab, it's often to an exclusive facility with marble baths, ocean views, and a full spa.

It's enough to give addiction treatment a bad name. A 30-day stay in a rehab clinic used to be a common treatment for addicts. But today it's rarely covered by insurance, and thus too costly for most Americans. Does that mean that effective treatment is only for the rich and famous?

Fortunately, the answer is no. Outpatient treatment has proven to be equally effective for many addicts, experts say. Either way, not even the fanciest program can guarantee successful treatment. Success also requires a lifelong effort by the patient to stay clean.