On the internet, there is now more content on addiction and withdrawal than ever before. This is both good and bad.
The good part is some of the content is 100% factual and the intention behind it is to provide as much value as possible to the audience.
The bad part is there is an abundance of online content which is either not factual and/or the main intention behind it is not to to serve and provide value (but to influence you to take a specific action).
To explain this more clearly, here is an example of a very common scenario:
- Someone addicted to OxyContin does a quick online search of “how to quit oxycontin”
- At the top of the organic search results is an article titled “How To Detox from OxyContin” and they click on it
- The article is generic, has tons of information on the horror of oxycodone withdrawal, and the part on how to detox simply says the condition should only be treated at a detox and rehab treatment program (and in-between every paragraph or two there are BIG clickable buttons that say “GET HELP NOW” which, when clicked, lead to phone call
- If you click this and end up on the phone, the typical belief is that the person on the other line wants to provide value for free, but in actuality, it’s a person that is compensated with commissions for signing people up for the rehab facility they were hired by and work for
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Hook, Line, and Sinker
Versions of the example above happen all-day-every-day. These articles have a main motive:
Get as many targeted people as possible to click on them and out of those, get as many as possible to click on the GET HELP NOW type of button, and out of these individuals, sign up as many as possible for rehab.
Here are 2 screenshots I just took from a blog post to illustrate this (took me only 5 seconds to find after a quick search):
The title of the article is How To Get Off Oxycontin Safely, yet in the section related to this title, it says that you need medical detox and the rest of the article is marketing trying to get you to call them to GET HELP NOW.
No tips or even info on tapering.
No tips or even info on detoxing at home.
No helpful tips or info in the section on how to quit… just info on medical detox being the way everyone should quit (and especially why you should choose their treatment program).
Thus, when doing online research on the topic of quitting a substance, try to ascertain whether the root goal of the article is to add free value and unbiased, accurate information, or whether the underlying goal appears to be to get you to take a desired action.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to grow a business. I’m a business owner and rely on clients and course students to make a living.
This means that I want some people to sign up for these resources.
However, in my more-than-five-hundred free articles, podcasts, and videos, the main intention — and usually the only intention — is to add immense value for free.
The ultimate reason I do this work and what drives me is passion to help people overcome a challenge that I suffered from and beat… addiction.
The issue is not with making money, rather, the issue is with the means by which a person obtains the money.
In the case of hundreds or possibly thousands of mainstream rehab facilities…
Their blogging strategy doesn’t involve teaching the reader how to detox from a substance, which is what most people doing online research in this topic are looking for.
While the articles will contain drug facts, side effects, and the science of withdrawal syndromes, the advice given is to have a doctor at a detox facility treat your addiction (especially at their facility).
And often times it seems like the purpose of the article is not to educate, but rather to scare someone into believing they need supervised medical detox and inpatient treatment (and especially at their drug treatment program).
Hook, line, and sinker.
Digital marketing agencies for drug rehabs
I started this blog more than 6 years ago. Back then there were very few mainstream rehabs that showed up at the top of internet search results.
Due to the power of a blog’s ability to attract targeted traffic for free, thousands of mainstream rehabs jumped on the blogging bandwagon within the past 6 years (and especially within the past 3 years).
While I’ve grown this blog 99.99% with my own content, the vast majority of the mainstream rehab programs have outsourced blogging to digital marketing firms. They pay a very large service fee and the digital marketing agency takes care of the rest.
This typically includes:
- Finding competitive and high-traffic keyword phrases related to addiction and detox
- Using ghost writers to create articles that are search engine optimized for their keyword phrases to grow search rankings and traffic
- Guest blogging ghost writing on other related-topic blogs and inserting backlinks to the mainstream rehab facility, which grows their website authority and rankings
- Following a consistent article template that offers zero or very few actual tips to help and instead scares people into thinking they need medical detox (and especially using the rehab center that published the ghost-written article)
When I started blogging, most of the drug detox articles that showed up at the top of search results were written by people like me.
That is, people that had suffered from and finally risen out of addiction who wanted to help others do the same.
Nowadays, things are much different, as most of the information that shows up on the first couple of pages in search is from mainstream treatment blogs that used the proven formula I described above.
And a quick internet search will show there is no shortage of drug rehab digital marketing companies (it’s a hot trend!):
Thus, millions of people around the world searching for addiction help online are not seeing the information they’re actually looking for.
Instead, they’re having to navigate through a deep sea of generic articles that nearly all say the same fucking thing: “Withdrawing from this substance is dangerous and thus should be detoxed from at a medical detox facility. At our program…”
Yup… hook, line, and sinker.
Different strokes for different folks
Sometimes a person really would be best helped utilizing medically-supervised inpatient detox.
However, a great number of people do better ending an addiction at home where they don’t have to be away from their family.
Whether or not a person would be best served using medical detox all depends on the individual’s very unique situation, preferences, resources, desires, and several other variables.
It’s common for these mainstream rehabs and their sales teams to prescribe a one-size-fits-all treatment plan (eg medical detox at their program; which is also in their best financial interest).
The Map is Not the Territory
Now that I’m done voicing my concerns on the previous topic, it’s time to move on to another common barrier to getting accurate information on drug/alcohol detox and treatment online.
“The map is not the territory” is a saying that refers to us not experiencing true reality, but rather our own version of reality.
Each one of us sees reality in a unique way.
This personal version of reality is shaped by our upbringing, social conditioning, experiences, personality traits, brain health, and a plethora of other factors.
When it comes to researching addiction and detox info online, people that believe their experiences are the universal experiences unwittingly spread misinformation that leads to harm.
Here is an example of this:
- A man that is addicted to oxycodone hears that gabapentin can help mitigate withdrawal in a major way
- He has a bottle left over from a surgery one year ago and decides to plan a detox using gabapentin
- When he uses gabapentin for oxycodone withdrawal, the medicine relieves withdrawal but also gives him horrible side effects at low dosages
- The side effects cause him to stop gabapentin and he becomes angry at the medicine
- Months later, this man sees a video on YouTube talking about the potential benefits of using gabapentin for acute opioid withdrawal
- Upset… he angrily types a comment that reads: “Gabapentin dosnt help at all! I tried it and iter just made things wsorse!!!! DO NOT use gabapentin and DO NOT listen to this idiolt!!” — I added the misspellings on purpose 😉
In case you hadn’t noticed, in the example above, I’m the “idiot” from the video.
On my gabapentin video, versions of the example above have happened dozens of times. What’s funny is that much more often, people post comments stating the opposite — that gabapentin worked great for their withdrawal symptoms.
Who do you believe in these situations?
On the net there is a never-ending sea of information, and when it comes to addiction and detox info, often you’ll find overwhelming amounts of content and comments expressing opposite opinions.
This makes it difficult to know what is true — which makes it confusing — which leads to “analysis paralysis” — which leads to inaction — which leads to the same or worsening life conditions.
Here is the truth:
Due to the scientific principle of biochemical uniqueness, detox medicines will have varying effects, side effects, and overall effectiveness with different people.
Thus, in the example above where the man felt worse after taking gabapentin for withdrawal, his experience is not the universal experience (and in this case not even the most common experience!).
It’s a fact that there are billions of human beings that inhabit our great Mother Earth.
It’s also a fact that each one of these billions of people have a totally unique biochemical profile (biochemical individuality; biochemical uniqueness).
Thus, since we are all biochemically different, gabapentin and other medicines used for drug or alcohol withdrawal, as well as supplements and natural drugs used for this purpose, will not work the same for everyone (eg there are common experiences and benefits; but these are to varying degrees and qualities and are not universal).
Ignorance of biochemical uniqueness has lead to internet forums, social media platforms, Facebook groups, and YouTube comment sections being both a breeding ground and hangout area for misinformation-spreaders.
My favorite example is seeing people argue in comment sections and it’s apparent to me that neither of them have heard of biochemical individuality.
They argue on-and-on, each sure that their experience is the universal and correct one, both ego-invested, emotionally-driven, and wanting to be right and not listening to the other (and thus not learning anything).
I’m Wrong Sometimes Too
Over the years, I’ve published content that had false information in it at least a few times (but never on purpose).
I love it when someone tells me about this so I’m able to learn the correct info and amend the content accordingly.
Nowadays, I’m very careful about what I say and try to explain things that could be misread or misinterpreted.
Still, even when it comes to learning from my content, I encourage you to use the following tips for online research into addiction detox and recovery therapies.
Here are 8 tips for doing online research on addiction and detox:
- Learn from a wide variety of sources and ones with differing or opposite beliefs
- Avoid being too impressionable by maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism
- Do your best to ascertain the underlying goal of the content and be very skeptical if it appears the content is inauthentic — and mostly to convince you to take a specific action (while not having the primary focus of serving you)
- Remember that biochemical uniqueness determines outcomes for using medicines and supplements; also remember that a large percentage of people posting and commenting on the net are unaware of this phenomenon
- Don’t outsource your ability to do critical thinking, meaning learn from others but try your best to draw your own conclusions rather than taking their word for it
- Maintain awareness of the susceptibility to become possessed by an ideology
- Avoid groupthink mentality
- When you see misinformation being spread that could cause harm, say something about it if you can
P.S. Please share this article with anyone you believe would enjoy learning about this topic. Thanks so much for reading.