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 they ask is if cell phones and laptops are allowed in rehab. 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.In addition, 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.