What to Bring to Rehabilitation

When packing for rehab, it’s important to know what items your treatment center prohibits and what you’re allowed to bring.

What Can I Bring With Me to Treatment?

Rehabilitation centers have very strict policies about what you can bring with you to treatment. Most centers provide a recommended packing checklist and a list of prohibited items. Treatment centers allow you to bring only the necessities. Policies on extra items vary by center.

When you arrive at rehab, you will check in and begin the admissions process. During this time, your center’s admissions team will inspect your bags to ensure safety and that no prohibited items are brought in. Some centers will also catalog what you bring to make sure you don’t leave anything behind when you leave.

What Most Rehabs Recommend You Bring

Each rehabilitation center’s policies are different. Some are stricter than others. For the most part, it’s recommended to bring the following:

  • A list of names, addresses and phone numbers of those you wish to have involved in your treatment (loved ones, healthcare professionals, 12 Step sponsors, etc.).
  • Jewelry that you wear every day and consider to be a necessity, like your wedding ring or a watch. Otherwise, leave valuable items at home.
  • An alarm clock that does not have a radio. Some centers will supply these, so check with yours before going out to buy one.
  • Your current prescription medication in the original pharmacy bottle with the information label intact. Any liquid medications must be new and sealed. You should also bring a list of all your medications and dosages.
  • A small amount of cash ($50 to $100 in smaller bills for store runs, vending machines, etc.).
  • Your checkbook, credit card or debit card to pay for treatment medications.
  • Your insurance cards and a form of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.).
  • A calling card (if your facility requires them for long distance phone calls).
  • A notebook or journal.
  • Stamps and envelopes if you wish to mail letters.
  • Pictures of your loved ones to keep in your room or wallet.
  • Your rehab will likely provide reading materials for you. If you want to bring your own, they’re usually required to be recovery, self-help or spiritually oriented. TIP: bring paperback books as they’re easier to carry around than hardcovers.

What Clothing You Should Bring

Most facilities have a very strict dress code, so be aware of any restrictions while you’re packing. If you’re unsure about how to pack for the weather, pack layering options, like T-shirts, sweaters, cardigans, and jackets. Keep in mind, space in your room may be limited, so try not to over-pack.

You should have access to a laundry machine at your center, so a week’s worth of clothing should be enough. Be sure to pack clothes that are easy to wash and do not require special care.

Be sure to bring seven days worth of comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, including:

  • shoes: comfy shoes for everyday wear, tennis shoes for activities/sports and flip flops for the shower
  • shirts: if bringing tank tops, make sure you also pack cardigans to wear with them to comply with your center’s dress code
  • pants
  • shorts: may have to be a certain length to comply with your center’s dress code
  • one or two “dressy” outfits for special occasions, like Family Night
  • socks
  • undergarments
  • a bathing suit: a one piece is usually required for women, trunks for men
  • pajamas
  • a coat/jacket
  • a bath robe
  • a belt
  • a hat: your center may not allow hats indoors
  • slippers

Personal Hygiene and Beauty Products to Pack

Most centers require all toiletries and beauty products to be completely alcohol-free. Others will allow you to bring products that do not have alcohol listed in the first three ingredients. Aerosols are not allowed.

Bring thirty days worth of toiletries and beauty products, including:

  • deodorant
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • hair styling products (pump hair spray only)
  • comb/brush
  • feminine hygiene products
  • shaving cream
  • lotion
  • sunscreen
  • makeup

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Some Rehabilitation Centers Allow These Items, Others Do Not

Each treatment center has their own policies, so some rehabs may prohibit an item that’s allowed at another. While many things are prohibited across the board, the following may be allowed at some facilities:

  • Cell phone and laptop. If your center allows these items, you will likely only have access to them at certain times. Make sure you don’t forget your power cords!
  • Cigarettes. If you smoke, some facilities will allow you to bring cigarettes. These centers usually have a limit on how many cartons you can bring.
  • Vitamins and over the counter medications. These must be new and unopened.
  • Gum. Must be unopened and sealed.
  • MP3 player or CD player. Devices without internet access or speakers may be allowed.
  • Camera. For those who are shutterbugs, some centers allow cameras that are not internet accessible.
  • Disposable razor or electric razor. Razors can be dangerous, so some centers prohibit them completely. However, more often than not, disposable razors are allowed.
  • Nail clippers. Nail clippers are banned at some centers, but not all.
  • Items to make your room feel more like home. You may be allowed to bring your own bedding, pillows and other items to make your room more comfortable.Make sure to double check with your rehab before packing any of these items.

Where To Find Packing Information

If you’re unsure about bringing an item or have questions about what to pack, check your center’s website for a “What to Bring” page. If they do not have this page, look for a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Some centers even offer printable packing checklists that you can refer to while packing. If you still cannot find the information you are looking, you should contact the center’s admissions office.

If I Bring Something Prohibited, Will I Get it Back Later?

If you arrive at your center and realize you’ve packed something prohibited, don’t worry! Most facilities will send prohibited items home with the person who brought you to the center. Others will hold your items for 24 hours until someone comes to pick them up. In some cases, your center may store the items for you until you leave.

If you’re traveling by plane to get to your center, chances are you won’t have a loved one with you when you’re admitted to take items home. It is recommended that you call your center before you leave home to double check their policies. If you pack something prohibited by mistake, you’ll want to make sure those items will be returned at some point. If they will not store them, ask if they’ll ship them home for you.

Packing for rehab can be easy! Just follow your center’s policies and ask questions if you’re unsure about an item. Look for a packing checklist on your rehab’s website to make the process even easier. As a general rule, try to pack light and keep it to the necessities.

Get Help Now

Many treatment centers allow you freedom to bring things that make your life more comfortable during treatment. Our treatment specialists can help you find the best center for your needs.

Call us now for help finding a center.