Why We Allow Cellphones in Rehab

Not too long ago, it was standard practice for most inpatient rehab facilities to not allow residents to bring or keep their cellphones with them. Many treatment centers still have this rule, believing that it’s ultimately in their client’s best interest. There are fairly large trade-offs to this, however. In the modern age, cellphones keep us connected to our jobs, our friends,family, and the wider world. For most people, they’ve become an essential part of everyday life and people tend to keep their phones on them wherever they go. Many can’t imagine being disconnected from the internet for a whole day, let alone the minimum 30 days of an inpatient rehab program. At Sunshine Behavioral Health, we believe that while well-intentioned, the consequences of disallowing cellphones outweigh any potential benefits. Here are just a few reasons why we believe allowing clients to keep their phones is best practice.

Confiscating cellphones while clients are in treatment can lead to a feeling of isolation during their stay, a time during which social support can be extremely helpful. Most addiction experts agree that a cornerstone of recovery is a strong base of social support who can be called upon to help people recovering from addiction through stresses and periods of craving. Not only does stripping people of their phones isolate them, but it also strips them of some of their autonomy. Without their cellphones, clients would be completely reliant on the treatment center to contact friends and family outside.. 

One of the effects drug dependence can have is a feeling of a loss of autonomy. A large number of those who suffer from addiction struggle with feeling as though they have no control over themselves or their lives. Because of this, part of addiction treatment is helping people regain control of their lives, and rules that interfere with personal autonomy, like banning cellphones, are antithetical to that goal. 

During their free time, clients are also able to unwind using their phones to browse social media, listen to their music and podcasts, or watch videos on their phone. Addiction treatment is emotionally taxing, and the chance for clients to take time to themselves and listen to music alone in their room is helpful. 

Cellphones and laptops are often essential for people who work from home.   Remote work has only become more prevalent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While clients are expected to attend treatment activities during the day, the ability to check in to work or school during free time is important s and can help people have an easier time reintegrating into society and returning to their lives once they’ve completed their inpatient treatment program. 

At Sunshine Behavioral Health, we believe it’s important for us to allow our clients to keep their autonomy and remain connected to their lives outside of treatment. Doing so can smooth the transition from inpatient treatment to life outside of rehab. To learn more and get help for drug or alcohol addiction, visit us at sunshinebehavioralhealth.com 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