Recovery next exit signRehab, short for rehabilitation, can denote any process designed to help a person recover from an illness. For example, rehab may include physical therapy, group counseling, or drug treatment. However, the term “rehab” is most commonly used to refer to residential drug rehabilitation.

What is Rehab?

Just a few decades ago, rehab was virtually unheard of, but the concept of rehab has made its way into the cultural consciousness and is increasingly recognized as a way to get past addiction. For many people who are experiencing addiction, rehab is the first step in moving forward with their lives. Rehab may occur in a general rehab facility that addresses several types of addictions, or it may be part of psychiatric hospitalization. Addiction-specific rehabs are increasingly popular, and there are now facilities available that are tailored to addictions ranging from porn to drugs. While traditional rehab centers are residential facilities, some facilities offer outpatient rehab or transition inpatient clients to outpatient treatment as they make progress.

Find a Treatment Center

Rehab is such a popular concept that it has been addressed in several television shows. “Celebrity Rehab,” for example, is a show following celebrity addicts on their journey to sobriety. “Intervention” tracks the process of addiction and ends with an intervention designed to get a person experiencing addiction to go to rehab.

What Happens in Rehab?

There is no one specific rehab process used by all facilities. Generally speaking, however, people in rehab can expect to get a combination of medical treatment, group therapy, individual therapy, and detox assistance. Rehab stays can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a year or more. Participation in rehab is voluntary, but some people may end up in rehab after being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Different rehab facilities use different treatment models. Some incorporate aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step support group approach into their programs. Others use religious influences, focus on psychological problems, use positive affirmations to encourage recovery, or emphasize the cultural pressure to use and abuse addictive substances.

If you would like to learn more about rehab, visit our page on Frequently Asked Questions About Rehab.


  1. Drug rehab program. (n.d.). Atlanta Recovery Center. Retrieved from
  2. Drug rehab programs. (n.d.). Drug Rehab Center for Drug Addiction Treatment. Retrieved from
  3. Drug rehabilitation program. (n.d.). Narconon. Retrieved from
  4. Fletcher, A. M. (2014, August 19). If Not AA, Then What? Five 12-Step Group Alternatives. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 03-28-2019

  • Leave a Comment
  • Walter

    January 22nd, 2017 at 6:06 AM

    Lost my real family. I need help to get into a rehabilitation program in California please I need help

  • GoodTherapy Admin

    January 22nd, 2017 at 1:13 PM

    Dear Walter,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional or treatment center, please feel free to return to our homepage, to find a therapist, or go to to find a treatment center near you.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists, counselors, and/or treatment centers that will meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view full profiles and contact the therapists/treatment center for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1 to find a therapist or 1-800-803-0635 ext. 9 to speak with our support team.

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  • Kim

    May 20th, 2022 at 1:19 PM

    After reading this article i get to know more about rehab centers and it’s providing services

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