Can You Use Your Phone During Inpatient Rehab?

Cell phones are more essential for our daily lives than ever. But when it comes to inpatient rehab programs, cell phone use is likely not permitted to encourage participants to be present and free from the distractions and triggers that cell phone use may encourage.

For many of us, forgetting our phone for even a quick errand can feel odd and uncomfortable. Going without a phone for an entire inpatient rehab program can be an even more perplexing and upsetting prospect.

As a result, smartphone policies are one of the most common questions and challenges admissions counselors receive on a daily basis. Learning that cell phones aren’t allowed can be a shock and frustration for many people as they learn more about their treatment options.

However, even if you’re disappointed to lose access to your phone during treatment, there are some very good reasons why treatment centers restrict smartphone use and access as a matter of policy.

Can You Bring Your Phone To Rehab?

You may bring your phone to rehab but you will likely be required to hand it over to the staff until you leave.

However, there may be exceptions. Different drug and alcohol rehab facilities have different policies regarding cell usage, and there are some programs in which participants are able to use their cell phones, though likely only during certain times while under supervision.

It is more common for inpatient treatment centers to not permit participants to have or use their cell phones at all while receiving treatment. Phones are collected during check-in, turned off, and stored securely, and only returned when a patient is discharged from the program.

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Why Are Cell Phones Not Allowed?

While cell phones keep us connected to the outside world and our loved ones, they are also extremely distracting. Drug and alcohol treatment requires every participant to be fully attentive and present in the moment.

By removing cell phones, recovery centers can eliminate distractions and encourage participants to build deeper relationships with one another. 

They can also disconnect participants from their usual habits, patterns of behavior, and outside contacts, which can help decrease or re-contextualize their cravings, temptations, and addictive behavior.

Some participants have even abused the cell phone access, using calls, text messages, or even email to arrange for drugs or alcohol to be smuggled to them while they receive treatment, putting themselves and the staff at risk.

What About Other Devices?

By the same logic, laptops, tablets, game consoles, smart watches, and even e-readers are also not allowed in alcohol/drug rehab programs.

These electronic devices and the work, games, streaming video, social media, email, and text messages they can deliver all consume time. 

Those precious minutes and hours that each and every participant in the treatment process needs to face the real and harsh reality of addiction that threatens your livelihood, finances, relationships, and your mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Thirty and even sixty days is not that long of a time, which means that every second or your treatment plan and therapy session matters, and those receiving care should be mentally and emotionally prepared and present to make the most of them.

Can You Call Home Some Other Way?

Yes. Treatment facilities likely allow access to landline phones that participants can use to call family members and other loved ones during set periods of time.

These periods may be scheduled weekly, or there may be a more open policy for phone calls during evenings or off hours.

There may also be an initial treatment period during which participants are expected to be fully immersed in their treatment regime, with no outside contact permitted. 

This detox period may involve the most drastic changes in a person’s physical and mental health, requiring closer monitoring and support.

What If You Just Leave?

Rehab centers are not prisons. Anyone has the right to leave their treatment program at any time and to take their cell phone and other personal belongings with them.

But remember, these rules exist for your benefit. 

Alcohol abuse and drug addiction are deeply destructive behavioral health issues that can threaten you and your entire support system. So, even if giving up your phone for a few weeks is uncomfortable, the benefits of completing the recovery process are worth the effort.

If substance abuse has impacted your life and your relationships, you shouldn’t let something as small as a cell phone come between you and your recovery.

Ohio Recovery Center is a leading inpatient addiction treatment provider providing care for all forms of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as serious mental illnesses. Contact us today to learn more or enroll today.

  1. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. Journal of Behavioral Addictions
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: November 6, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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