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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Can I Bring My Laptop To Rehab?

Rehab Centers That Allow Cell Phones, Laptops, Computers and Internet

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), close to 2 million US citizens seek out addiction treatment every year.1 At the same time, 81% of all Americans own a smartphone and 25% of them use it as a primary method of connecting to the Internet.Furthermore, more than 78% of Americans are active Internet users, according to a survey published in 2019.3

One of the most commonly cited reasons for dropping out of rehab includes lack of social support in 19% of cases and program rules in 7% of the surveyed participants.4 One of the things that may help patients get accustomed to their new environment might be having a cell phone or laptop. But do rehab centers allow cell phones, laptops, and similar devices? 

Whare Are Some Pros and Cons of Using Technology While in Rehab?

Typically, whether you can have your phone in rehab depends on the rules of a specific treatment center. Rehab centers that allow Wi-Fi and internet may do so if the client depends on these devices for business or work purposes.

However, for someone going through substance abuse recovery, staying connected with their loved ones may provide the much-needed emotional support to power through the process and stay in rehab. Their involvement may, therefore, directly increase the benefits of the treatment.5

Cell phones and laptops are one way to help patients stay in touch with their loved ones regularly, and as such, some treatment centers may allow them or restrict them during certain times. 

On the other hand, having unlimited and unmonitored access to such technology may negatively affect their treatment. A significant percentage of people entering treatment for SUDs suffer from a co-occurring disorder such as depression, anxiety, or OCD.6 

Furthermore, social media may aggravate conditions such as depression or anxiety.7 Therefore, the risks of using cell phones in rehab should not be overlooked.

However, this policy is individual to each residential rehab center, so make sure you contact the center ahead to inquire about their rules on using cell phones and laptops.

Should Technology Be Allowed in Treatment?

Support from friends and family plays a significant role in helping people complete their addiction counseling and other forms of treatment.5 Therefore, being able to call home or get in touch with your friends online may have certain benefits to the overall outcome of the therapy. 

However, since cell phone use may aggravate existing and co-occurring mental health conditions, their use may pose a distraction from the goal and hinder progress.7

Whether using a phone or not could prove counterintuitive is based on each individual, so the cell phone allowance is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, each treatment center has its own set of rules and guidelines for allowing cell phones, laptops, and computers.

Guidelines for Cell Phone and Laptop Use in Rehab

In most cases, people in an inpatient treatment program may be able to use their cell phones and laptops during certain times and have use restricted during others. Typically, patients are allowed to communicate with their friends, family, and loved ones as their support may prove invaluable to their treatment.5

There is a strong correlation between alcohol abuse and employment, with 7.6% of full-time workers being heavy drinkers.8 Typically, executives and CEOs admitted into the treatment center may be allowed to use their cell phones and computers to perform their work duties.

Most treatment centers will be able to provide you with more information about their guidelines for cell phone and laptop use during rehab. Typically, treatment programs determine when patients can connect with their loved ones. Those who need to stay connected for work reasons may be allowed to use technology depending on their individual treatment plan.

Do Rehab Centers Allow Cell Phones?

If your goal is to get better during your stay at the treatment center, you may want to follow the instructions provided by the staff. Typically, cell phone use is allowed during certain times but prohibited during others. In most cases, patients may not have access to their cell phones during their detox phase, the first stage of treatment that typically lasts up to seven days.5

Once the patient enters residential inpatient treatment, they may be allowed access to their phone or the Internet during certain periods and under supervision, in most cases. You may consult your program counselor when you require to use a cell phone for any other purpose such as checking your work email or paying a bill online.

If you enter a sober living community or are released to any type of outpatient program, your cell phone privileges will typically be returned to you. The aim of these programs is to help you adjust to the world outside the treatment center, and introducing your cell phone and internet privileges may help ease this transition.9

Do Rehab Centers Allow Cell Laptops and Computers?

You may want to use your laptop or computer to stay in touch with your loved ones or may need access for work. Depending on the type of addiction and the intensity of the treatment, you may or may not have access to these devices.

You may bring your laptop or computer with you, but once you are admitted into the treatment center, you may need to speak to your counselor about the terms of their use. When and how you can use these devices may depend on various factors, which is why these rules may be changed and determined individually.

Do Rehab Centers Have Wi-Fi and Internet Access?

Before entering into a treatment center, you may want to ask whether the rehab center you’ve selected has Wi-Fi or internet access. Internet availability may depend on the facility, as some may have the required infrastructure while others don’t.

If a rehab center has Wi-Fi access, you may be limited to certain times, based on your treatment program. You may also have access to a landline if the facility has one. Personal calls are typically reserved for late afternoon after you’ve completed all of your treatment obligations.

Are There Any Benefits to Technology-Friendly Rehab Centers?

Patients attending technology-friendly rehab centers may benefit from not being isolated and being able to communicate with their loved ones during this period of their life. 

An increasing number of private treatment centers and rehab centers that allow Wi-Fi and internet may offer increasing benefits to patients looking to recover from SUDs. These benefits may include:

  • Access to company and business emails.
  • Ability to work remotely.
  • Connecting with friends and family.
  • Staying in touch with romantic partners.
  • Entertainment and relaxation.
  • Staying informed on current events.
  • More flexible treatment durations for patients who need to use their cell phone and laptop for business.
  • Flexible treatment approach while using cell phones and laptops.

Benefits of Leaving a Cell Phone at Home During Drug Rehab

A lot of people may enter a treatment facility to limit their exposure to factors that cause addictive behavior. Treatment centers provide a safe and structured setting where patients can adopt new skills and alter or modify their behaviors, which may help them recover from various forms of addiction, including cell phone addiction.9

Cell phones and laptops may distract patients from treatment and may cause stress and other issues. Patients’ mental health conditions may be aggravated by social media use, which could distract them from the treatment and cause them to seek relief in their old, unhealthy habits.7 Therefore, while cell phones may have certain benefits, patients may also benefit from a distraction-free environment if they leave their cell phones at home.

Some Questions to Ask the Facility When Getting in Contact

When getting in touch with a specialized hotline or one of your preferred alcohol and drug rehab hotlines, you may want to ask a few questions about the use of cell phones and other technology:

  • Can I have my phone in rehab?
  • How can I find treatment centers that allow cell phones?
  • Are cell phone and laptop use allowed for business?
  • Are cell phone and laptop use allowed for private purposes?
  • When can I use my cell phone and laptop during rehab?
  • When should I limit my cell phone use in rehab?
  • What information can I share with people outside the treatment center?
  • Which items are allowed in the facility?

How to Find Technology-Friendly Rehab Centers Near Me?

American Addiction Centers is a trusted treatment provider with facilities across the United States, with state-of-the-art drug and alcohol rehab centers. Each facility has different rules regarding laptop and cell phone use, so make sure you call ahead and inquire about the specific rules at the nearest treatment centers. 

If you cannot find a suitable treatment center near you, the AAC admission team can offer phone recommendations for the nearest available center that allows having cell phones, laptops, and computers during rehab

Finally, you can browse through online directories and find additional information about available treatment centers nationwide.

Does Insurance Cover Technology-Friendly Rehab?

Private insurance companies may be able to help you cover at least one part of the treatment cost. Additionally, state-funded programs such as Medicaid may also cover some of the rehab costs.10 

You can check your insurance coverage with American Addiction Centers via an online form or through a phone call, where they can check your coverage during your conversation. There, you can discuss any questions about technology use, as well as ask about additional payment options or even available low-cost or free treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions


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