Rehab Centers That Allow Cell Phones, Laptops, Computers, and Internet

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that almost 2 million individuals in the United States seek to be admitted into a rehabilitation center every year.1 It’s likely that many of these treatment-seeking individuals use smartphones and the internet regularly.

According to research from the United States Census Bureau, 84% of American households had at least one smartphone, while 78% of them owned a computer.2 With 79% of Americans being active internet users, it’s likely that a significant number of addiction treatment-seeking individuals may be among them, too.3

A lack of social support is listed as one of the most common reasons that struggling individuals drop out of rehab, in 19% of the cases.4 This may indicate that access to a phone or a laptop may help the struggling individuals in treatment adjust better to their new environment. The question is, do rehab centers allow cell phones, laptops, computers and other electronic devices?


Pros and Cons of Using Technology While in Rehab

On the plus side, phones and the internet can help treatment-seeking individuals stay connected to their loved ones. If they’re in a long-term treatment program, they might not be able to see their family and friends as often as they’d like.5

However, with technology, struggling individuals in recovery can stay in touch through text, email, social media, and even video chat. This can be a really important way to maintain their relationships while they’re in treatment.5

On the downside, using a phone or computer with internet access while in rehab may also be a major distraction for some treatment-seeking individuals. If they’re trying to focus on their recovery, constantly being connected to their phone can make it difficult to stay present and focused on what they’re doing.5

Should Technology Be Allowed in Treatment?

When it comes to technology and addiction treatment, there are a few different approaches in most rehabilitation centers. Some professionals may feel that having access to technology could be a trigger for relapse. On the other hand, there are also those who believe that technology can be helpful in treatment, providing a way to connect with others and stay motivated.5

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to provide the struggling individual with access to technology in treatment may come down to the facility and the treatment approach it provides. For example, some facilities may have strict rules about cell phones and laptops, while others may provide designated times for using computers or unlimited access to a personal smartphone.5

When used appropriately, technology can be a valuable asset in the rehabilitation process. Still, it’s important to remember that not all programs can or should incorporate the use of technology into their established routines and systems, whether they are paid private facilities or free state-funded programs. Some programs are designed for individuals who would likely benefit from taking a break from technology and fully focusing on their recovery.5

Guidelines for Cell Phone and Laptop Use in Rehab

Some rehabilitation facilities take into account the idea that staying connected to loved ones may be important for their patients’ recovery. Some treatment-seeking individuals may also need to continue using their phones or laptops for work purposes.5

That’s why some of these facilities have guidelines in place to ensure that these devices are used in a way that is respectful to other patients and the staff, and that doesn’t interfere with treatment.5

In some facilities, patients may be welcome to use their phones and laptops during designated times and in common areas only. The center may also ask patients to refrain from using devices in individual therapy sessions, group sessions, or while the staff is leading activities.5

Do Rehab Centers Allow Cell Phones?

Since there is evidence to suggest that cell phones can be beneficial for some people in recovery, some rehab centers do allow their use during treatment. If used properly, they can help patients stay connected with loved ones and make it easier for them to transition back into society. However, some patients may benefit from not using their phones during treatment so that they’re not distracted by outside influences, especially in more intensive inpatient programs that last at least 28-30 days.5

Do Rehab Centers Allow Laptops and Computers?

Some rehab centers operate with the belief that complete abstinence from technology may not be a realistic goal for some treatment-seeking individuals. After all, many struggling individuals may need to use computers and laptops for work or school. As a result, some rehab centers allow clients to use their PCs under certain conditions.5

For example, patients may be required to use these devices in public areas where they can be monitored. Alternatively, they may be allowed to use laptops and computers in their private rooms but only during specific times of the day.5

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to allow laptops in rehab centers depends on the type of addiction being treated and the goals of the treatment program. However, it’s important to note that even if computers are allowed in some rehab centers, patients may still be expected to use them in a responsible manner. Excessive use of technology may interfere with treatment and hinder recovery.5

Do Rehab Centers Have Wi-Fi and Internet Access?

If a treatment-seeking individual is wondering whether or not a particular rehab center has Wi-Fi and is not sure what to expect, the best thing to do is to simply ask. This information can typically be found on the center’s website or by giving them a call.

However, it is important to note that even if a rehab center does have Wi-Fi, there may be restrictions on its use. For example, some centers only allow patients to use Wi-Fi during certain times of the day or for specific purposes. Others may require patients to get approval from staff before using the Wi-Fi.

Therefore, if a treatment-seeking individual is planning on using Wi-Fi during their stay at a rehab center, it is important to inquire about the center’s policies and procedures beforehand.

Are There Any Benefits to Technology-Friendly Rehab Centers?

More and more rehab centers are allowing phones and laptops to be used during treatment. This may provide a number of benefits for treatment-seeking individuals, including:6,7

  1. Increased communication with loved ones: Thanks to access to their phones or laptops, patients can communicate with their loved ones more easily. This can help reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness that many individuals with SUD may have struggled with even before the treatment.
  2. Easier access to work or school assignments: Patients in rehab centers can continue working on their school or work assignments with the help of their laptops. This may help them stay on track with their studies or jobs.
  3. Improved mental health: Some studies have shown that using laptops and phones in rehab centers can improve mental health outcomes for patients. This is because these devices can help patients stay connected to the outside world and learn more about their condition, which can be helpful for those who are struggling with mental health issues.
  4. Increased comfort: Having phones and laptops in rehab centers may also make some patients feel more comfortable. This may be especially helpful for those who are new to rehab, as it may help them to feel more at ease during their stay.

Benefits of Leaving a Cell Phone at Home During Drug Rehab

While there may be some benefits to using a phone in rehab, there are also various benefits to deciding to leave the phone at home. Even some of the best treatment centers decide on a technology-free environment due to these factors:8,9

  1. Fewer distractions, more focus: Although it may be difficult for some treatment-seeking individuals to be without their phones, it is important to create an environment where they can focus on their treatment and not be distracted by the outside world. When they leave their phone at home, struggling individuals may be able to focus on the present moment and be fully engaged in their recovery.
  2. Connection with other patients and staff: If the treatment-seeking individual leaves their phone at home, they may be able to connect with other patients and staff at the rehab center without being interrupted by their phone. These connections and relationships can be very valuable, as they can help the individual feel less isolated and more supported in their recovery. In addition, it may provide an opportunity for the struggling individual to practice communicating without relying on electronic devices.
  3. Fewer triggers: Treatment for individuals with SUD often includes avoiding triggers that can lead to relapse. One such trigger is contact with other people who are still using drugs or alcohol. When treatment-seeking individuals leave their phones at home, they remove the temptation of notifications or messages from these individuals and connect with other patients in recovery instead. This can help them stay focused on their sobriety and avoid relapse.
  4. More time for reflection: According to a recent study, spending time on your phone can increase anxiety and stress levels. When trying to recover from a SUD, it’s important to find ways to relax and de-stress. The time without a phone can help the treatment-seeking individual reflect, relax and rest. Some struggling individuals may get the most out of their time in rehab in this way and potentially improve their chances of long-term recovery.

Some Questions to Ask the Facility When Getting in Contact

When contacting a rehabilitation facility, you or your loved one may want to ask some of the following questions:

  • Can I have my phone in rehab?
  • How do I admit myself or a loved one to a treatment center that allows phones?
  • Can I use my phone and laptop for work?
  • Can I use my phone or laptop to stay in touch with my loved ones?
  • Is there a time limit or a designated time for using my phone or computer?
  • How can I know if using my phone or laptop during treatment is right for me?
  • Which items are allowed in the center and which are not?
  • Can you admit me today or do I have to wait?
  • Are there low-cost facilities that I can apply to?

How to Find Technology-Friendly Rehab Centers Near Me

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a trustworthy, reliable provider of different SUD treatment programs, with well-established, science-based facilities all over the United States. Among a large number of facilities, they all have different policies regarding the usage of phones or laptops during treatment.

This is why it’s important that the treatment-seeking individual reaches out to a helpline and get the information they need. If a treatment-seeking individual is having trouble finding an appropriate rehabilitation center near them, a trained rehab navigator can help them find another available facility that fits their needs, including the usage of electronics and free resources about their SUD.

The experienced navigator may help treatment-seeking individuals with other information as well, including the cost of treatment and forms of payment, what information they’ll need to disclose during the intake assessment, what the detoxification program looks like, and more.

Does Insurance Cover Technology-Friendly Rehab?

The insurance coverage for SUD treatment typically depends on the insurance provider and the type of treatment being sought. Some insurers will only cover traditional inpatient treatment, while others may be willing to cover a portion of the cost of outpatient care.10

It’s important to check with your or your loved one’s insurance provider to see what type of coverage they offer for rehabilitation services. You may not need to pay the full price of treatment if you have the right provider.AAC works with a variety of insurance providers to help struggling individuals get the treatment they need, but it’s still important to verify your insurance with the provider or the rehab navigator. There are ways to afford treatment even if the insurance doesn’t cover it. SAMHSA’s treatment locator may help you find facilities with flexible payment options.