Rehab's Role in Treating Addiction
Experts explain the treatment process at rehab clinics -- for celebrities and for regular folks.
High Cost of Treatment
Treatment at Sierra Tucson -- which has treated Ringo Starr, Michael
Douglas, and Mark Foley -- costs about $1,200 a day. There's a pool, spa, gym,
climbing wall, and even equestrian stables. But Sierra Tucson isn't just a
retreat, says Scott; patients spend most of their waking hours in
"emotionally draining" recovery activities. "We treat them
intensively, and they do well."
Other, simpler inpatient facilities charge lower rates. The RightStep chain,
based in Houston, charges $8,500 for a one-month inpatient stay, and says it
has "preferred agreements" with many major insurers. (Intensive
outpatient treatment costs $3,000).
How to find a good clinic? Ask your doctor or friends, suggests Berger. Look
for a clinic that is staffed with addiction-certified counselors and medical
staff, says Galusha. And look for a clinic with medical staff that can treat
the psychiatric problems that so often accompany substance abuse, says Gordon.
That usually means access to psychiatrists as well as counselors, he says.
Treating the High-Profile Ego
Maybe celebrities and others in the public spotlight can afford fancy
clinics. But they also face special challenges when it comes to getting clean
and sober, say the experts who treat them regularly.
Celebrities and other high-profile people are surrounded by "groups of
people who have a vested interest in their success," says Scott. A lot is
at stake, whether it's a political campaign, a concert tour, or a movie
production. So not everyone in the entourage may be so accepting when an addict
needs to take time out for group therapy or to stay away from events where
liquor is served.
Successful people with large egos are especially difficult to treat, Scott
says. "They have accomplished so much in their lives, so they cannot
believe they can't [kick the habit] themselves," Scott says.
O'Connor treats a lot of high-flying professionals in addition to the
occasional celebrity. Doctors, pilots, and the like are expected to be high
achievers, O'Connor says, and addicts in these professions have developed a
matching ability to deny and rationalize their abuse. So it is especially
difficult for these people to admit that they have let people down because of
their addiction. "An enormous cistern of grief accompanies them into the
center," O'Connor says. "What we really treat is the shame of it