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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. Items we suggest bringing to our inpatient program include the following:
As reported by Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), just over 20 million American adults struggled with addiction in 2016. Addiction is a treatable disease that is optimally managed through a specialized addiction treatment program.
There are a variety of treatment modalities and methods. Each facility will have their own standards and rules, but in general, there are certain things that a person should, and shouldn’t, bring with them to rehab. Some items may provide unnecessary distractions while a person should be focusing on healing while other items may be potentially hazardous.
Treatment facilities generally have very strict rules and policies as to what a person can bring into rehab and what they can’t. Typically, during 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.
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.
Below is a general packing list of things to bring to rehab.
In addition to necessities, everyday clothing, and bathroom essentials, it is often recommended to bring the following as well:
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.
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. Some items are deemed dangerous, as they may contain alcohol or other substances that may be considered mind-altering and therefore may have a potential for abuse.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that relapse is a common component of drug addiction recovery with rates as high as 40-60 percent. This means that during rehab, it is essential to remove all potential temptations.
Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts often accompany drug withdrawal, and NIDA warns that these suicidal ideations may continue for a time after detox. For this reason, it is important for certain items that may have the potential to be used for self-harm to be closely monitored or prohibited altogether. Shoes may need to have their shoelaces removed; razors may or may not be allowed, or they may need to be of a certain type; and keys are often not to be brought in to rehab. Other personal items may provide access to the outside world and bring unneeded distractions when a person needs to focus during rehab.
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.
Check the packing list and the list of prohibited items before being admitted into rehab. If for some reason an item is brought from home that is not allowed, treatment staff will usually give it to a family member to take home. If this isn’t an option, items may be stored until a loved one can come and retrieve them. Some facilities may provide storage for these items until the person has completed the program.
When in doubt, ask. Admission counselors and treatment staff are on hand to answer any questions families and prospective clients have about entering rehab. Less is generally more in the case of packing for rehab. Think about packing light, leaving valuables at home, bringing only the essentials, and preparing to enter into a safe environment that is free from outside distractions.