We receive a lot of calls from individuals and family members who are looking for an inpatient rehab center. One of the most common questions is how to find rehab centers that let you bring your phone and laptop. The question makes sense on two fronts.
- People are ‘addicted’ to their electronic devices.
- Individuals in rehab want to be able to communicate with their loved ones.
The answer to this question is entirely based on the treatment center. There are two schools of thought.
- Some treatment facilities think that access to technology can serve as a distraction while in treatment and clients could easily come up short in reaching their ultimate goal, which is sobriety.
- Some facilities believe that there are benefits to technology in treatment. Allowing clients to have contact with friends and family can serve as a constructive support system with an important role to play during inpatient treatment.
Part of this restriction is due to the problems that social media can create. If a client regularly posts Facebook statuses about their time in treatment or Instagram photos of the complex, it could pose a safety issue for other residents. However, the biggest danger that mobile technology poses is to the individual client. If a client has access to their phone, they can often still easily access a dealer or people they partied with. Cell phones and laptops often serve as an escape from addressing difficult issues or emotions. It’s critical to experience these moments and focus on treatment.
Is Nomophobia Real?
Nomophobia, or fear caused by a lack of access to mobile technology, is now a recognized illness.
According to a recent survey of 1,000 people, 66 percent are concerned about losing their cell phones, up from 53 percent in 2008. Those between the ages of 18 and 24 are particularly affected, with 77 percent stating that being away from their phones for a few minutes makes them feel uncomfortable.
Because many people seek inpatient treatment to get away from the things that trigger or tempt their addictive tendencies, boot-camp type rehab institutions sometimes prohibit the use of electronics. To aid with this, most recovery clinics will restrict phone and laptop use to some extent, as well as banning gadgets entirely during group sessions.
5 Signs That You May Have Nomophobia
1. WHEN YOUR PHONE BATTERY GETS LOW, YOU FEEL ANXIOUS
When your phone’s battery becomes low, does your heart start beating and your palms start sweating? Worrying that you will become uncontactable and unable to check your emails and social feeds at some time in the future is a clear indicator of nomophobia.
2. YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT YOUR SMARTPHONE
You can’t go to the store without your phone? If you can’t imagine going a day without your cellphone, even for the most ordinary tasks, you have an unhealthy obsession!
3. YOU GET ANGRY WHEN YOU CAN’T GET ON YOUR PHONE
Feeling upset when you can’t use your phone is another apparent symptom that you have smartphone separation anxiety. Maybe someone told you to put it down over dinner and it struck a chord with you?
4. YOU ENDANGER LIVES TO CHECK YOUR SMARTPHONE
Using your phone while driving has recently become banned. When you text while driving, your reaction times are two times slower than if you were driving under the influence of alcohol. If you’re using a portable phone, it’ll take three times longer. If you believe that responding to that message right away is more important than prioritizing your well-being, you are addicted to your smartphone.
5. WHILE ON HOLIDAY, YOU CHECK FOR WORK UPDATES ON YOUR PHONE
Are you going to the beach with your phone? According to reports, 60% of us don’t feel refreshed when we return from vacation since we stay in touch with work and check our emails! Not being able to go on annual leave without checking work messages on your phone is a clear indicator of nomophobia (and a poor work/life balance!). Why not turn off your phone’s email for a week?
The Pros and Cons of Banning Electronics in Rehab
Removing technology from treatment can give rise to Nomophobia. Yes, it’s a real disorder. Individuals experience feelings of anxiety when they don’t have access to their mobile devices.Individuals between the ages of 18-24 are the ones who experience Nomophobia the most. A recent study showed that 77% of participants started feeling uncomfortable within minutes.
There is a good case to be made for disallowing technology. We live at a time when some individuals like to document ‘every’ moment and share it on social media. This can pose serious safety issues to other residents. Then there are HIPPA regulations to worry about.
But, the individual is the one who has the most to lose. The biggest fear is that the individual can easily contact their drug dealer or another source to obtain drugs or alcohol. Some centers find it easier to ban technology altogether.
Some mental health professionals believe that technology is like a gateway drug. It allows individuals to escape their reality and not address their core issues.
Even treatment facilities that allow cell phones generally take them away during the first few days in treatment. This is known as the detox stage and usually the most difficult as the substance is removed from the body. Certain individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms in the process. It is a critical period as the body is brought to a stable condition and ready to proceed with treatment.
It’s important to identify whether technology is important before selecting a treatment facility.
If you or a loved one is in need of addiction treatment and would like to get a personalized treatment plan for your addiction then please call our 24-hour substance abuse helpline.