Prehab: Preemptive treatment for addiction. A portmanteau of preventive (or preemptive or even, in funeral parlance, pre-need) and rehab.
The "pre-addiction" definition of prehab was apparently coined by Glasgow Rose, who suggested it in a tip on the celebrity gossip site Gawker. Gawker adopted the word in a Feb. 24 post headlined "Prehab Is the New Rehab: Because Non-Addicts Need 'Me' Time Too." The story began:
Wife-beating actor Charlie Sheen has checked into rehab as a "preventative* measure." Witness the ingenious invention of a new celebrity phenomenon: Prehab.
The post went on to list "the four advantages [prehab] provides over rehab" (#1: "Get that 'rehab' career bump without actually being an addict").
This meaning of prehab may be new, but the word itself has been in use, mostly by sports doctors and physical therapists, for more than a decade. For example, a January 2009 article on the Core Performance site defines prehab as "a proactive approach to avoiding pain and injury."
The Double-Tongued Dictionary provides a February 2007 citation for prehab from a story about diminishing wait times in an orthopedic-medicine unit in Peterborough, Ontario. The article was published on the Canadian news site MyKawartha.com:
By providing them with booklets and other materials, patients are informed about what type of exercises and treatments they need, he stated. With this new type of “prehab,” as some doctors have coined it, patients can be prepared and will know what they have to endure, before and after their operation.
Prehab is the business name of a sports physical-therapy program operated by Eastside Rehab in Manhattan, which has owned the prehab.com domain since 2002. Here's how the web site describes the program:
On the cutting edge of knowledge about physical well-being is an emerging health trend called Prehab. It looks beyond the benefits of plain exercise or basic ergonomics and enters a new dimension of physical wellness by actually preventing injuries.
The Eastside clinic is part of the Prehab Network, "a membership organization that supports physical therapists and their practices that engage in evidence-based treatment." The organization applied for U.S. trademark protection of "Prehab" in 2008.
There is also a Prehab Massage Therapy Center in Nashville.
The oldest Prehab trademark record I could find was filed in 1995 by an individual in Oklahoma City. It covered "educational services, conducting workshops and seminars in the field of physical therapy," and was abandoned in 1997.
* Both preventive and preventative are accepted as adjective and noun, although "many contemporary grammarians prefer the shorter version," writes word maven Michael Sheehan.