Is it common for people like Lindsay Lohan to switch rehabs or is it some sort of special celeb treatment? Don't such switches disrupt someone's recovery? And is her new place less reputable than Betty Ford? — Allison E.
We're sure many people immediately thought celebrity privilege when today's news broke that Lindsay Lohan checked out of Betty Ford in Palm Springs and moved — in the middle of her 90-day court-ordered rehab stint — to Malibu's Cliffside facility.
However, celebrity conspiracy theorists will have to look elsewhere to find a scandal in this new development. Because according to experts I interviewed, this kind of switch happens all the time. Really.
"Switching facilities isn't completely out of the norm," celebrity defense attorney David Diamond tells me. "Betty Ford is more of a 30-day program. Rather than repeat that, she is going to Malibu."
"It's quite common," agrees Clare Waismann, registered addiction specialist and administrative director of the Waismann Method. "This is like any medical treatment. If the facility is not fitting the patient, it's better to change."
[Related: Lindsay Lohan Switches Rehab Facilities]
As for why Lohan has moved to this specific set-up, well, there are perfectly plausible reasons for that, too.
"I think Cliffside is a bit more unique to each person's specific needs," Waismann says. "Betty Ford is a bit more traditional, more about group therapy.
But, as is usually the case with Lohan, the move doesn't come without some raised eyebrows.
"Cliffside has multiple chefs, a housekeeper, and a very high pricetag. It seems to be more of a resort than a rehab center," says Diamond, who is not involved in Lohan's case.
[Related: Check Out Lindsay's Mug-Shot Collection]
And there are also the disputed claims by staff that Cliffside can "cure" dependency.
"I don't agree with the word 'cure' if it has anything do with humans and addiction," Waismann says. "We're not magicians. These are human beings."
But, Waismann insists that despite the cure claim, Cliffside has a good reputation. (Which is not the case of its more controversial Malibu neighbors Promises and Passages. Those celeb-magnet treatment centers are known for high costs, dubious treatment regimens, and questionable success rates.)
"Cliffside looks more at individuals, looking at neurobiological chemistry, going beyond just the addiction to look at, say, depression or anxiety issues."
Which for someone like Lohan, sounds like a good idea.
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