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Can I Use My Phone During Inpatient Rehab?

By Becca Owens

Friends texting on smartphonesCan you use your cell phone while in treatment? The short answer is, “sometimes” or “it depends.” Many people searching for a rehab center ask if cell phones and other communication devices are allowed. All treatment facilities have their own rules regarding cell phone use, but most do not allow the use of personal cell phones or other electronic devices, such as computers and tablets. Most rehab centers do not ban cell phone use, but they do regulate usage, especially early in the treatment process when it’s important to give your full attention to healing. Treatment centers are generally happy to discuss their expectations for patient communications and use of electronic devices before entering treatment.

Although personal cell phones may not be allowed, most treatment centers allow patients time to use the rehab phone to connect with family members and others who will be encouraging them in their journey. Patients who may need to use email or other connections for work may also be allowed to do so, depending on the specific facility. Although electronics may be discouraged during the healing process, clients may bring other items that provide comfort and are reminders of home. Each facility is different and is able to discuss their rules with you ahead of time. It is important to remember, however, to leave valuable items at home. If you a patient arrives with items of high value — including cell phones — they will likely be safely stored in the patient’s lockbox.

Why Do Some Rehabs Allow Cell Phone Use?

Benefits to Cell Phone-free Treatment:
● By limiting communication with the outside world, you protect your own privacy as well as the privacy of other patients and their families.
● Without a personal cell phone, you restrict your access to your former drug suppliers and fellow users, making it easier to fight the temptation to seek out drugs and relapse.
● Cell phones often become greater distractions than helps. Without them, you can focus on rehab and getting clean.

Some treatment centers allow and even encourage patients to stay connected through their personal cell phones during recovery. Patients thrive on the encouragement of family and friends back home, and being able to keep their cell phones with them allows them to have easier access to their community of cheerleaders. Emotional support is critical to success in recovery, and most of the people patients rely on for that support are away from them during rehab. Some patients may be unable to disconnect from certain obligations while in rehab — like work and family responsibilities — and being able to have access through their cell phone allows them to keep their job or stay up-to-date on family issues.

Some rehabs, who are electronics-friendly, may even utilize electronic devices as part of the rehab structure. Therapists may assign homework via the internet and may connect with patients outside of counseling sessions through calls and texts. Because it is so easy to connect through cell phones, rehabs can use this to their advantage to help facilitate the recovery journey. In other words, cell phones are not inherently bad for the treatment process, but depending on your individual plan and treatment facility, it may not be recommended.

Why Do Some Inpatient Rehab Facilities Discourage Cell Phone Use?

Rehab centers impose cell phone restrictions for several valid reasons. Primarily, they want to help recovering addicts focus on recovery. Cell phones and other electronic devices can distract patients from the work at hand, and treatment centers want patients to have the best chance to heal from addiction. Many people seek inpatient services to get away from things that tempt or cause addictive behavior, so the facilities provide a safe and structured environment where clients can learn and practice skills needed to find lifelong recovery.

By providing monitored communication with family and friends, treatment centers help protect patients from relational triggers as well as the temptation to relapse via drug dealers and users. Regulating communication also protects the privacy of all patients and their families who are seeking to heal.

In addition to being a distraction from treatment, cell phones can also bring unneeded stress that can impede recovery. There are many valuable lessons to learn during rehab; therefore, it is important to trust that others at home can deal with elements of stress not related to recovery. Effective rehab treatment requires patients to participate. Even when used for valid reasons, cell phones prevent people from devoting themselves completely to recovery.

How to Find the Best Rehab Options

Our goal is to help you enter treatment, have a beneficial stay and complete the program with skills to live a life apart from drug and alcohol addiction. It is natural to wonder if you truly need residential treatment to quit using and break your addiction; however, inpatient care is almost always the best way for you to heal. It allows you to devote all your time and energy into caring for yourself so that you return to your work and relationships healthier and prepared for success.

If you aren’t sure what questions to ask or are simply interested in hearing about quality rehab options, we can help. We want to connect you to the very best treatment centers to fit your unique needs. Our treatment centers have a wide range of amenities — like delicious meals, outdoor activities, exercise facilities and massage therapy — to make your stay as comfortable as possible so that you heal in a relaxing and home-like atmosphere. Our caring and knowledgeable admissions coordinators can help you understand your health insurance benefits and talk through all the financial aspects of treatment with you.

Don’t let finances keep you from pursuing treatment — the cost of addiction is much higher than the personal investment into your future through rehab. If you are ready to help your loved one enter treatment, we can even provide you with intervention services and all the information you need on addiction treatment to have a plan in place. Please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today to begin healing now at (877) 259-5635!