For physical rehabilitation, see Physiotherapy.
Rehab or "Rehabilitation" is a medical treatment program for addiction. It consists of an initial program to treat the symptoms of withdrawal and then a follow up program of therapy to attempt to prevent the patient from returning to the addictive behavior. It uses controlled settings, isolation from friends and family and pharmacological treatment of symptoms and underlying diseases in order to return patients to a patern of sobriety. The program usually lasts about four weeks at a minimum.
Although the pain and trauma of withdrawal are always a major hurdle to sobriety, it was found that patients who managed to "kick the habit" generally returned to their addictive habit soon after withdrawal symptoms were over. In the late 1970s, the experience of then First Lady Betty Ford, who was battling alcoholism, convinced many Americans that instead of being an illness of the weak, addiction was a disease that could strike anyone, was very difficult to overcome, and where the social stigma could discourage people from seeking treatment. The Betty Ford Center became the first clinic to take a new approach to addiction by providing support in addition to assisting with withdrawal. In addition, it eliminated much of the stigma of seeking treatment.
One of the major problems with high functioning drug addicts (such as Gregory House) is they often don't see their addiction as a major problem in their lives. In addition, when they do feel that it has become a problem, they see withdrawal as the only hurdle. House's reaction that he should be able to leave rehab right after kicking his Vicodin habit is typical of many addicts. Although rehab is not always successful in the long run, it does teach addicts that relapse is a common occurrence, but not an insurmountable hurdle to eventual recovery.