Should Laptops and Cell Phones Be Allowed in Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers?

Cell phone and laptop use are prohibited during
the clients stay in most inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facilities. When
first considered, this seems like a wise decision. After all, shouldn’t those
in rehab only focus on their
treatment and not the stressors and potential triggers? In reality,
however, the answer to this is not so black and white. In fact, there is a
strong argument made for remaining connected into everyday life outside the
center during treatment. 
Image result for rehab

Benefits of Maintaining Outside Contact

Clients in drug rehab should be disconnected
from everyday life to some degree. This disconnection should be just enough to
provide them with enough room to work on their issues. Nonetheless, you may be
setting clients up for an overwhelming experience when they leave rehab if they
are completely sheltered from outside life.
There are numerous benefits in allowing clients
access to laptops and
cell phones in rehab when they receive close support and oversight
from their team of treatment professionals. Some of those benefits include:
Information overload prevention – Those in recovery can face a potential minefield of stress when
returning home to hundreds of emails and texts. When returning to a world where
you were disconnected from for 30 or more days can also be shocking in regard
to current world events and news.
Treatment barriers removed – In today’s connected world, people are extremely attached to their
laptop and smartphones. In some cases, when clients have no access to these devices
for even short time periods it can be enough for them to forego receiving
much-needed treatment. Many rehab centers consider staying in a drug and
alcohol rehab with a laptop or cell phone is much more preferred than being out
on the streets using drugs.
Some clients have legitimate reasons to stay
connected. They need to remain in contact with their children, are unable to
completely detach from work without possibly losing their job, or they have
legal issues that were due to drug use. Treatment is made possible when these
clients are able to stay connected.
Healthy technology practices
– In a 2016 Neilson study, it was
estimated that people spend 10 hours, 39 minutes each day on computers,
televisions, smartphones, and other media devices. For those clients who use
technology excessively, the treatment team for that individual can help them
develop more healthy usage practices. The treatment team would otherwise not
know the leisure activities and if there is an issue had the client not been
allowed to use the devices while in treatment. Guidelines for when clients are
allowed to use their smartphones help them learn the benefits of disconnecting
for a certain amount of time and how they can reduce anxiety, improve sleep
hygiene, and add to a balanced healthy lifestyle. 
The building of trust – Many of those in treatment for addiction has not been trusted
for a long time. Trust between the client and therapist can be developed when
laptops and smartphones with guidelines are allowed to be used in rehab. While
there have been cases where the client has broken the guidelines, such as
maintaining contacts on the device that they had agreed on removing, but later
these clients admitted to these failings and made a choice to follow through on
their agreement. It can be an exceptionally healing experience when these
clients feel trusted again.

Access to Technology Works in Addiction Treatment

Guidelines must be set in order for laptop and
cell phone use not be a hindrance to treatment. These guidelines vary among
treatment facilities but are generally the same and can include individualized
usage rules, set times for use, technology boundaries, back out periods when
first entering treatment, adherence to
privacy laws, and more.
Facilities across the United States have
received positive feedback from clients in regard to allowing laptops and cell
phones in rehab centers. Allowing these devices in the facility during their
inpatient stay made treatment possible for these clients with their personal
and work obligations. This has also reduced the anxiety the client experiences
when being away from family and home during this delicate time. Providing the
client remembers the principal reason they are in the rehab center is to
recover and their devices are second, the use of laptops and cell phones in
rehab can enhance addiction recovery work in most cases.