Can You Have A Cellphone In Rehab?

Alcohol and drug addiction is a big problem here in the United States. Every year, millions of Americans are impacted by the effects of addiction. Unfortunately, the hardest step for people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction is admitting they need help and beginning their search for treatment. There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with deciding which treatment to choose. Are they looking for an inpatient rehabilitation clinic? Do they feel that they do not need as intensive of treatment that inpatient provides? Perhaps they think outpatient rehabilitation treatment is adequate for their needs. One of the most common questions addiction specialists and rehab admission counselors receive from prospective patients is if they can have their cell phone in rehab. 


Cellphones are how people communicate with friends and family, keep track of their daily schedule, and keep in touch with the outside world, so it is no wonder that prospective rehab patients are concerned with their usage during treatment. There is not a unanimous policy on cellphone use across all rehabilitation clinics, each facility has their own guidelines. When considering a rehabilitation treatment center, and their cellphone policies, it is important to understand the arguments for, and against, cell phone use in rehab treatment.


Why Some Rehabs Do NOT Allow Cellphone Use

One of the main arguments against cell phone use in rehab treatment is that they are often a direct source of temptation. Cell Phones have become inseparably linked to the sale and usage of drugs and alcohol. Access to direct communication among friend groups who may share in a patient’s use of drugs or alcohol can lead to strong urges to use again. Social media and message apps have made drug dealers accessible at one’s fingertips. Patients having this constant reminder on them while they are trying to recover from addiction can severely impede on their treatment and ultimately their recovery. If a patient is at the point where they are looking to check into rehab, it is safe to say that they do not have a handle on their drug or alcohol use and their addiction is unmanageable. It makes sense then that some rehab treatment facilities would want to prevent the exact tool used to acquire and sell illegal drugs or alcohol from being accessible to patients currently undergoing treatment. 


Those who have completed treatment and successfully overcome their addiction can attest to the severity and speed that cravings emerge. The beginning stages of treatment are often the most difficult, where patients undergo medically assisted detox and their withdrawal symptoms are the strongest. A patient that has the ability to acquire their drug of choice readily available to them while they are experiencing these intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings can lead to obsession and eventually impulsive action. The temptation can be too powerful and there are dealers who may be willing to make a delivery, even to a drug and alcohol rehab facility. If it gets to this point, the safety and well being of others at the treatment center will be jeopardized so it is easy to see why some facilities may take precautions and not allow cellphones during treatment.


It is also important to note that cellphones are much more than communication devices. Similar to a schools cell phone policy, it is noted that cellphones can be a major distraction. They are windows to the world outside of the drug and alcohol treatment centers, and patients can be easily distracted and lose focus on their recovery. In a rehabilitation treatment setting, being distracted is exactly what patients should avoid. It reduces the likelihood that a patient will fully absorb and retain the vital information and strategies taught to them in recovery. One’s focus should be solely on their treatment needed to become and remain sober.


Why Sunshine Behavioral Health Allows Cell Phones

Here at Sunshine Behavioral Health we believe that patients can have the ability to communicate with the outside world, without it interfering with the success of treatment. Sunshine is cell phone and electronic friendly because we believe that patients should be able to remain in contact with friends and loved ones throughout the duration of their stay. We believe that allowing patients to use their cellphones gives them the opportunity to continue to engage in important, personal relationships with people outside of the rehab facility in a safe and healthy manner. These relationships are essential for continued sobriety after a treatment program has been completed.


Committing to a 30, 60, or 90 day inpatient rehab treatment is daunting enough as is. By providing patients access to their personal cell phones and technology, checking into inpatient rehab can seem less scary. They will have access to personal relationships that would otherwise be put on hold throughout the course of treatment. For those who may already be stressed from their work, having access to their cell phone or laptop can provide additional peace of mind knowing that they can be reached even during treatment. Stress is often a trigger for further substance use, so maintaining low stress levels for patients is a high priority for Sunshine Behavioral Health.


Allowing patients in treatment to retain their cellphones helps friends and family better understand what patients are learning, and how they can best assist them in their recovery post treatment. It is worth noting that some rehab stays can last up to 90 days. That is far too long to not be connected with friends and loved ones in the outside world. Not being connected for such an extended period of time can actually hinder one’s recovery. It can lead to strong feelings of isolation throughout their treatment, a real negative mindset that counters the positive outlook on sober living that rehab is supposed to foster. A well-developed relapse prevention plan ensures long-term success as it aids against future regression in patients addictions. Total isolation is not necessary to achieve these results and feelings of isolation during treatment can lead to patients feeling overwhelmed as they re-enter society. Sunshine Behavioral Health helps clients recover and get back to their normal life outside, without feeling overwhelmed due to isolation while in therapy.


The prohibition of cellphones during rehabilitation treatment is not a universal rule among treatment centers. There are rehabilitation treatment centers, such as Sunshine Behavioral Health, that do allow the use of cellphones in their rehab clinics. While the arguments for not having a cell phone may seem compelling, Sunshine believes that by allowing patients access to their technology they are not only able to work and stay connected with their friends and family, but emphasizes personal responsibility and autonomy throughout the treatment process; two skills which are crucial for long-term recovery success. 


If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and are interested in cellphone friendly treatment options, visit Sunshine Behavioral Health today and learn about the many benefits a technology friendly rehab can provide. Don’t wait any longer, take the first step towards recovery today!



Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

Sunshine Behavioral Health Facilities


Chapters Capistrano


Monarch Shores


Mountain Springs


Willow Springs


Lincoln Recovery

Find out more about our admissions process