It’s expected for people entering drug or alcohol rehab programs to want to know what they’re allowed to bring and use during their time in treatment.
One of the most common items of interest is cell phones, which were strictly prohibited in most programs for a long time.
However, in recent years many drug and alcohol rehab centers have become more relaxed in their cell phone policies, allowing limited use of cell phones for patients within certain treatment programs.
At Swift River, cell phone privileges are permitted for patients in our partial hospitalization program (PHP) after treatment has concluded for the day. This does not extend to patients within our residential or detox programs.
Our rules and regulations on electronic use during treatment at Swift River have been carefully crafted.
Removing cell phone use, and the use of other personal devices helps provide the most effective treatment process for patients in the early stages of addiction recovery.
Learn how our treatment philosophy approaches the interaction between cell phone use, addiction treatment, and recovery.
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Why Do Rehab Centers Limit Cell Phone Use?
Most rehab centers have rules in place to limit or fully ban the use of cell phones for the duration of their addiction treatment programs.
While this can seem unusual and even unnecessary for people who are accustomed to regular cell phone use, these restrictions are not meant to be viewed as punishment.
For many people, cell phones can offer an easy and convenient way to keep in touch with people in their lives and remain informed on current news and events.
Within a treatment program, however, this has the potential to distract people from their therapeutic work and their healing process.
Why it can be important to limit the use of cell phones in rehab programs:
- Recovery focus: Residential rehab programs offer an intensive treatment experience that can be most effective when a patient is able to focus on overcoming the physical, mental and psychological effects of their addiction. Disconnecting from services commonly accessed through cell phones gives patients the opportunity to prioritize their recovery above all else. It can also help patients engage more meaningfully in individual therapy, support groups, and other experiential activities offered in rehab programs.
- Less distraction: Cell phones are often used to connect to social media, send texts to friends, or make calls for personal or business matters. Within the early stages of recovery, this can distract people from their treatment and also potentially invite unnecessary stress.
- Separating patients from triggers: While someone may wish to use their cell phone to keep in touch with friends, cell phones may also invite the temptation of contacting people who have previously encouraged their substance use. Limiting cell phone use removes this temptation and can separate patients from potential triggers capable of impeding their progress in treatment.
- Privacy concerns: Restricting cell phone use in rehab centers can also serve the purpose of protecting other patients’ privacy. Taking pictures of other patients in rehab programs or sharing their information with others without their consent is strictly prohibited.
Benefits Of Cell Phone Use In Treatment
Communicating with friends, family, or other loved ones by phone can offer meaningful connection and support for people who are in the process of recovering from addiction.
Access to a cell phone can allow someone to call or text someone when they are struggling or give a patient the chance to address a triggering situation with someone in their life.
In this way, cell phone use can offer benefits such as improving someone’s mood, increasing motivation, and allowing opportunities for personal growth.
Several other purposes for cell phone use in rehab programs may include:
- tracking matters related to business or work
- staying connected with young children or teens
- checking homework assignments
- after-hours entertainment (i.e. after treatment programming has ended for the day)
- reconnecting with the outside world
Many rehab centers now recognize the benefits of allowing electronic use on a limited basis. The use of similar devices such as laptop computers may also be permitted for certain patients depending on their treatment plan and other personal needs.
Cell Phone Use In Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are a type of day treatment program that requires less supervision and offers less structure than an inpatient or residential program.
Most people in PHPs have either recently completed a residential program or are seeking additional support following a minor relapse.
As a less intensive program, PHP at Swift River does allow patients to use their cell phones once programming has concluded for the day.
At Swift River, PHP treatment hours occur on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Cell phones are therefore allowed for patients after 4:00 PM. The use of cell phones are not permitted during treatment.
Begin Your Recovery From Addiction At Swift River
Treatment at Swift River recognizes that there can be both benefits and potential drawbacks to cell phone use in rehab programs.
Sharing our rules and regulations on cell phone use is one way in which we strive to offer patients and their families transparency about the treatment process.
Although it can be difficult to not have immediate access to a cell phone, our rules have been created with the best interest of our patients in mind.
If you have any questions or concerns about our rules on cell phone use in drug and alcohol treatment, please contact one of our treatment specialists at Swift River for more information.