What people seeking treatment really, really want is an unbiased, safe and reliable site where they won’t be pressured to make an expensive purchase of treatment without knowing all the facts about what they need and what they'll get. Recovery and mental health care consumers (who happen to be you and me) want to research all the rehabs available and find out from others who have been there, what they're like. Reviews from real people are crucial in this field because reviews for every other product help us decide what to purchase. No one wants to think that addiction providers are offering a product, and that businesses are profiting from a devastating disease. But frankly recovery treatment is is a product that is commanding big fees with no standards or supervision, and transparency is needed. Consumers also need to be able to find all the professionals out there, not just treatment centers. It's basic. Find out what you need from a doctor, or addiction professional, then follow through and get it from the best providers in your area.
If you’re paying $5000 a month for aftercare which includes room and board, you should know if all you’re going to get is drug testing you don’t need, power bars for lunch, fast food for dinner, and a bus ride to an AA meeting.
People want to browse rehabs the same way they check restaurants on Yelp or Zagats, look at hotels, or find services on Angie’s List. Treatment facilities are different from each other in lots of ways, and those differences should be known to the public. People don’t always agree in their reviews, but there is often a consensus when products and services are wonderful, or awful. That’s the truth. Reviews are necessary, like it or not.
So here are the reasons review sites fail:
Rehabs Don’t Participate In Big Enough Numbers On One Listing Site
Consumers need a large number of rehabs participating to make a national list work for comparison shopping. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Agency) started the national rehab list consisting of some 12,000 facilities, but it is not updated often. Not every rehab is listed, and some that are listed, in fact, are no longer functioning. Still the SAMHSA list is the basis of all listing sites on the Web. Many entrepreneurs have tried to create their own national list that is comprehensive and full of reviews. They all have failed because large numbers of rehabs don’t see any reason to join.
2. The Sites Don’t Have Enough Reviews
Recovery Sites and Rehab Review sites don’t have enough reviews. Period. Rehabs don’t participate, and large numbers of people don’t review. That’s a fail. The sites that appear to have a wide list are actually trying to get you to choose one of their participating members. If you choose something that isn’t one of their members, they will call the place for you to get the fee for placing you there.
3. Rehab Listing Sites Are Often Referral Sites
Many rehab listing sites are storefronts for referral businesses. There’s nothing wrong with referral businesses. You just have to know what you’re getting into. The rehabs pay the referral service for every person they sign up for their rehab. These can be big fees if the cost of the rehab is high. So the motivation is to make a sale for one of their participating members and do it quickly before you (the treatment seeker) changes your mind and goes elsewhere. If you have insurance, the sales force will be all over you, even offering free taxi service, and free travel to the rehab. Tempting. But it’s all about the sale, not necessarily about you and your needs. For vulnerable people in crisis, this is a major and potentially dangerous, fail.
4. Rehab Listing Sites Are Attractive But Confusing
So you’re using key words to search for help. Detox, Addiction, Rehabs near me, help for my alcoholic. What comes up in Google searches may well be some beautiful calming sites with blogs about addiction and recovery and lots of recovery success stories. But these sites are not magazines. They are designed to assure you they are professional and caring. The sites that come up first in your search have the most money to spend on their websites and their marketing—heck, anybody can design a website. But how do you know what their outcomes are. If a rehab or referral site comes up first on Google searches, that means they’ve paid for that position. It means they are good at making and spending money. That’s all it means. It doesn't mean they have great outcomes to show you.
5.The Sites Don’t Offer Enough
This is the ultimate fail. You search the Internet looking for help, but can't figure out which to choose. So you leave frustrated, and don't know what to do next. It appears that rehabs are the only choice. What if you can't afford it. What if you really need a physician for medicine to help a mental illness. When you’re looking for help, you need a lot of help. And searching should be easy. On most sites, you don’t get enough of anything except numbers to call. You don’t have a wide enough range of rehabs or treatments to choose from. You can’t assess them yourself. You don’t get enough reviews (both bad and good) to make an educated decision. On listing sites, you can’t do anything but speak to a sales person. Fail.
6. Recovery Sites Promote Treatment Centers Not Long Term Recovery
Oh, wait. Here's another ultimate fail. If you have a disease, you go to a doctor that treats the disease you have. With addiction, people think that a rehab is their only option. The Surgeon General's Report of Nov. 2016) states there are many paths to recovery. It also says SUDs (Substance Use Disorders, and Alcohol Use Disorders) are chronic, progressive, relapsing brain diseases, for which a short term treatment will not be effective. So what's the ultimate fail? Nowhere does any one of these sites advise you to go to a doctor practicing addiction medicine before you make a decision about the treatment you need. No one tells you to find a professional in your area and get assessed. You'd do that for any medical emergency or any medical question. Assessment by specialist in the field is the first step to recovery. That specialist may end up as the guide that stays with you and insures that your treatment, whatever you choose to do, will be effective.
Recovery Guidance has taken a different approach, listing providers for every step of the recovery journey, which is most successful when support and program lasts a lifetime.