Are Mobile Devices Allowed While in Rehab? Pros and Cons of Having Digital Access

Are Mobile Devices Allowed While in Rehab? Pros and Cons of Having Digital Access
The Siliconreview
26 April, 2021

A common concern for those who are about to enter a rehab facility is whether or not bringing smartphones is allowed. The answer to this is it depends on the facility you choose to have your treatment in. For example, some Arizona drug rehab facilities grant patients permission to bring their mobile devices but only allow access under certain supervised conditions. On the other hand, there are rehab centers that will ask you to turn over all your devices once you are admitted.  

There are several reasons why rehab facilities have different policies with regard to allowing smartphones and other mobile devices. One reason is that most facilities want you to concentrate on your treatment program. This is done not in an effort to isolate you from the rest of the world, but as a way for you to focus on getting better. In any case, limiting or completely banning the use of mobile devices is part of learning to follow a set of rules and practice abstinence.

If you choose a rehab facility that permits mobile devices, you need to consider if you should bring them. To help you decide, you can consider the following pros of cons of having digital access while in rehab.


  • Staying in Touch with Family and Friends – Staying in contact with your family and friends is one way to prevent you from feeling completely isolated and lonely while undergoing treatment. Also, being able to talk to your loved ones can help you cope better with the changes you will go through while strengthening the strong support system that you will need when you come home. 
  • Education and Entertainment Purpose – Using your smartphones to find additional educational resources online can be beneficial. You can look for articles or videos that will supplement what you have learned and help with your treatment. When it comes to entertainment, you can also use your mobile devices as an additional recreational activity like watching funny animal videos online. 
  • Updated with Current Events – Patients stay inside rehab facilities for at least 30 days, but this is not always true for everyone. You may need to stay for three months or more, depending on the advised treatment. If you have your mobile device with you, you can keep an eye on current events so you won’t entirely be clueless once you come home.
  • Add Work Productivity – Some entering the rehab facility may still need to continue their work while getting their treatment. For example, if you are running a business or hold a senior position in a large organization, you may need to send emails or work from time to time. While in the final stages of your treatment, some rehab centers can ask you to engage in online activities as part of your recovery process. In addition, those about to leave the facility can use their smartphones to look for jobs or find housing.


  • Lead Patients to Temptation – This is one of the primary concerns for treatment providers. Since having access to smartphones and other electronic devices can lead you to temptation like contacting those who can supply you with alcohol or illegal drugs while in rehab. Even if you have no intention to contact them, dealers can still reach you. Of course, this is not to say that you can’t stay on your path to a substance-free life, but those who are in the initial stages of their recovery may have a harder time resisting temptation than others. Also, you need to consider that cravings can come suddenly and quickly. If you are still new to abstinence, you might find it harder to resist.
  • Source of Distraction – Your time in the rehab facility is limited and you want to make the most of your time there. Inpatient treatment lasts for 30 days, which sometimes isn’t long enough to absorb all the information you need. In this case, every minute counts to absorb and practice what you have learned. Depending on the content of the messages you will receive, a single notification can distract you from your daily therapy and may affect your determination to get better.
  • Patients’ Safety Issues – You need to be considerate of other patients in rehab. If you frequently post on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, this can pose a safety concern for other residents of the rehab facility. Taking photos may threaten their confidentiality and disrupt their own recovery process.  
  • Added Stress – You may be wondering what if you put your smartphone in silent mode so it won’t disturb anyone? The answer is this might not be enough. According to Time magazine, the mere presence of your smartphone makes you wonder what other people are doing and can add stress. In a lot of cases, the consumption of alcohol or illegal substances is used to deal with stress. It’s best to remove all possible triggers or sources of stress. Being in a rehab facility also teaches you to deal with stress without depending on illicit substances, so it may just be counterproductive to bring anything that may impair your progress. 

There are always pros and cons in every choice. It’s the same when it comes to bringing your smartphone and other mobile devices inside a rehab facility. But as mentioned before, every facility has different policies. It is best to consult with the facility administrators and check their treatment process to see how bringing a smartphone will affect your recovery.