What You Can and Cannot Bring to Rehab

Making the decision to go to rehab is a brave first step on the road to recovery. It’s important to get the most of out of your rehab experience, and know what you can bring with you to treatment can be very helpful.

In this article, you’ll find general information about what to bring and not bring to a rehab program. For specific information about what to bring to Desert Hope and items that are not allowed, you can visit our What to Expect page.

Getting Ready for Rehab

Treatment facilities generally have very strict rules and policies as to what a person can bring into rehab and what they can’t. These rules are in place to ensure the health and safety of each person in the facility, as well as to promote focus on healing and recovery.

Typically, during rehab admission, staff members will catalogue a person’s belongings to ensure that everything remains accounted for during the stay at rehab, and also to be sure that there are no prohibited items being brought in.

Packing List for Rehab

In general, when entering into a rehab program, a person will need to bring their everyday essentials, such as clothing and toiletries. Each treatment facility will have specific rules as to what kinds of extra things are allowed.

Rehab facilities generally have some form of a dress code that residents must adhere to while in residence, and individuals should check on this before packing clothing. Layering is also usually a good idea to account for weather variations and potential temperature changes.

It is important to remember that space is limited in a residential rehab facility and there will not be a lot of places to store things, so pack light. There is usually a laundry facility on site to wash clothes, so in general, a week’s worth of clothing is enough. Don’t bring things that need to be dry cleaned or washed in a special way.

Some rehab centers may allow individuals to bring things like a non-internet capable camera to take pictures, paperback books that meet specific criteria, comfort items that may make the room feel more like home (such as a pillow, blanket, or bedding items), an MP3 player that is not internet capable, gum, or unopened vitamins.

Some treatment facilities or programs may allow individuals to bring a cellphone or laptop, but they typically hold these and only allow use or access to them at specific times. Be sure to bring charging cords and carrying cases for these items if needed.

Rehab facilities may allow smoking, and there may be a limit on how many cartons of unopened cigarettes a person can bring in. Be sure to check the policies at the facility before bringing any of these items to rehab.

What You Can’t Bring to Rehab

Rehab is a time for creating new and healthy habits, detoxing from toxic substances, and learning how to manage cravings, stressors, and withdrawal symptoms. In addition, it’s a time for learning how to become more self-sufficient and equipped to lead a fulfilling and well-balanced life in recovery. As such, rehab facilities have firm rules on what items are allowed and what are prohibited to bring into a treatment center.

Each rehab facility will have their own list of prohibited items, so be sure to check before admission. Here is a general list of things to leave at home when entering rehab.

  • Outside food or beverages: Typically, rehab programs will adhere to a strict nutritional plan with scheduled and balanced meals. Caffeine and sugar intake are closely monitored, and sugary snacks and sodas are often not allowed. Food and drinks are typically provided during a stay in a residential rehab facility.
  • Drugs and alcohol: While this seems to be a given, it is still included on the list of restricted items and includes prohibited prescriptions, narcotics, unapproved OTC medications, and opened or unsealed medications.
  • Aerosol products: These products may be used by “huffing” and are therefore prohibited. Instead, hair styling and toiletries should be pump-based.
  • Alcohol-containing toiletries or beauty products: Check the labels on all of these products as it may come as a surprise that they contain alcohol. Things like mouthwash, perfume, and other products may contain alcohol and are therefore not allowed at rehab.
  • Nail polish, synthetic nail products, and nail polish remover: These products may all be potentially abused and are therefore not allowed.
  • Cleaning supplies: Not only are these not necessary at rehab, but they are also prohibited due to their potential for abuse. Rehab staff will provide any needed cleaning services or supplies.
  • Pornography: This can be distracting and not helpful during treatment.
  • Inappropriate clothing: This includes clothing that doesn’t adhere to the dress code, that is too revealing, or that promotes violence, includes references to drugs or alcohol, or is in some way offensive.
  • Candles and incense: These items have the potential to become hazardous.
  • Video games, sporting equipment, playing cards, musical instruments, games, radios, DVDs, and books: These items may provide unneeded distractions and are therefore often not allowed to be brought from home. They may be provided on site by treatment staff during certain times, however. For example, paperback books on self-help, spiritual growth, and recovery may be provided, and movie nights or game nights may be hosted on specific evenings by treatment staff.
  • Weapons: Anything that may be construed as a weapon (e.g., scissors, razors, knives, guns, sharp objects, etc.) is not allowed at rehab.
  • Valuables: Things of high value, such as jewelry and the like, should be left at home. Everyday jewelry, such as a wedding ring, is acceptable.

If you’d like to get help preparing for your stay, contact our helpful and knowledgeable admissions navigators at . They can give you information about what you can bring with you to our inpatient rehab in Las Vegas.

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