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What to Bring to Rehab

What to Bring to Rehab

by Isabella Coronel
Published: Updated:

Going to a rehab facility can be a daunting experience; it’s already nerve-wracking to try to escape from addiction, and the unfamiliar environment of the rehab facility can make it even more overwhelming as you wonder what to bring to rehab.

However, we assure you that our staff at Catalina Behavioral Health will do everything they can to help you through your recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. Our rehab facility is a place where you’ll be surrounded by people who want to see you succeed.

One way to make the transition a little easier is to be prepared and bring some appropriate items from home. Here’s a list of things to bring to rehab so you can be as comfortable as possible:

1. Comfortable Clothes

Substance abuse treatment centers have specific dress codes you’ll need to follow. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable. Bring clothes you feel good in that will allow you to move around easily; you’ll want to avoid constricting or revealing clothing.

Some people pack workout clothes to take advantage of the on-site gym, while others prefer to pack cozy clothes to relax in their free time. When packing for rehab, whether considering apparel for mental health treatment, or substance abuse programs, the clothing you choose should all make you feel good.

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A general list of rehab clothing items to pack includes:

  • Basic clothing items, like comfortable casual pants, underwear, shorts, t-shirts, and socks.
  • Pajamas, slippers, and a robe.
  • Supportive walking shoes and flip-flops for the shower.
  • Sentimental accessories, like a wedding ring (though you may want to leave this behind; we’ll touch on this again later).
  • Depending on the season, bring warm winter accessories, like a coat, a hat, and a scarf.
  • If the facility has a pool, a swimsuit.

If you don’t know how much clothing to bring, just remember that you’ll probably be doing a lot of laundry while in the treatment center. You don’t need to pack your whole closet — depending on the length of your stay, a few outfits should suffice.

If you have any questions about the dress code, ask your admissions counselor when you’re getting ready to leave for inpatient treatment.

2. Toiletries and Personal Hygiene Products

Toiletries and Personal Hygiene Products

You’ll find most of the toiletries you need at Catalina Behavioral Health. However, there are a few things you may want to bring from home.

To save yourself some money (and hassle), we recommend packing:

  • Soaps, like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
  • Dental hygiene products, like a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Hair products, like a brush, comb, headband, and hair ties.
  • Deodorant.
  • Menstrual products.
  • If you shave, bring your razor and shaving cream.
  • If you’d like, you can bring your makeup.
  • Any other personal care items you can’t live without.

Treatment facilities may or may not restrict the types of toiletries you can bring. For example, some facilities don’t allow items like shampoo and conditioner because they could be used to hide drug paraphernalia or alcohol.

Your rehab center should provide you with a list of approved and prohibited items before you arrive; if they don’t, feel free to ask.

3. List of Family Members, Friends, and Emergency Contacts

Most rehab facilities, like Catalina Behavioral Health, will want you to have a list of contact information on hand.

This list should include the names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or other contact information of the following:

  • Your family and friends.
  • Your therapist or counselor.
  • Your primary care physician.
  • Any other doctors you see regularly.
  • Anyone else who plays a significant role in your life.

This list will help the staff at Catalina Behavioral Health get in touch with the people who matter most to you if necessary, and it will also help you stay connected to your support system while in treatment.

If you don’t have a list of emergency contacts, now is the time to write one. You never know when you might need it.

4. Medications and Vitamins

Packing Medications and Vitamins for Rehab

If you have any over-the-counter medications or supplements you take regularly, pack them before you leave for treatment. This includes things like:

  • Current prescription medication in the original pharmacy bottle with the label intact.
  • Pain relievers, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.
  • Stomach relief medication, like antacids, constipation relief, etc.
  • Cold and flu medication.
  • Allergy medication.
  • Vitamins.
  • Any other medications you take regularly.

You’ll need to get permission from your alcohol and drug addiction treatment center before bringing any medications. Some facilities have strict policies about prescription medications and supplements while others are more lenient.

Either way, it’s always best to check with your treatment center before bringing any medications.

5. A Small Amount of Cash

Due to the nature of treatment and the safety issues that large amounts of money can bring, we recommend only bringing a small amount of cash with you to treatment.

This way, you’ll have money if you want to buy souvenirs, snacks, or other items while in treatment. Vending machines, coffee shops, and other on-site amenities usually only accept cash, so it’s best to come prepared.

That said, you should never bring large amounts of cash to treatment. Not only is it a safety risk, but it could also be tempting to use the money on drugs or alcohol, compromising your recovery.

6. Important Documents

Packing Important Documents for Rehab

Rehab centers like Catalina Behavioral Health usually require clients to bring a few essential documents when admitted into treatment. These documents typically include:

  • Your driver’s license or state-issued ID card
  • Your insurance card or cards
  • A list of your current medication
  • Any legal paperwork related to your addiction (if applicable).
  • The contact information for your next of kin.

It’s also helpful to bring any advance directives you have in place. Advance directives detail your wishes for medical treatment if you cannot decide for yourself.

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7. Essential Jewelry

While no jewelry or other valuables are technically “essential”, we understand that some people feel more comfortable with a few special items on hand. A wedding ring, for example, can be a source of strength and comfort during difficult times.

However, please remember that there is a risk in bringing anything valuable or sentimental. Items like family heirlooms, large amounts of cash, and expensive jewelry would be safest at home.

Keeping track of your belongings when you’re in treatment can be challenging and rehab facilities won’t be responsible for lost or stolen valuables.

This means it is safest to travel light and only bring the bare essentials.

8. Reading Materials

If you want something entertaining to bring to rehab, we recommend literature such as books, magazines, and newspapers.

If you love to read, pack a few of your favorite books. Just be sure not to bring anything too controversial or graphic. Some rehab centers have strict policies about the types of literature their clients can bring.

In general, it’s best to stick to uplifting, positive, and inspiring books. This way, you can keep your mind focused on recovery during your stay in treatment.

Ask your specific treatment center what their policies are for books and magazines before packing any. Kindles are usually allowed as long as they don’t have any Wi-Fi capabilities.

9. A Journal or Notebook

A journal or notebook can be a valuable tool during your stay.

Writing can help you process your thoughts and feelings, work through difficult emotions, and track your progress over time. It can also be a great way to relax and unwind after a long day.

Plus, it’s nice to have a written record of your time in treatment that you can look back on later. So, if you’re someone who enjoys writing, we recommend packing a journal or notebook in your bag before you come to rehab.

If you don’t consider yourself a writer, don’t worry. You can still benefit from keeping a journal during treatment. Write a few sentences daily about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

10. Electronic Devices

Cell phones, laptops or tablets, and other electronic devices are not allowed in most centers. This is because they can be a distraction from your recovery, and some people use them to access drugs or alcohol online.

If you need to bring an electronic device with you for work or school, please check with your our Admissions team at Catalina to see if we allow it.

What to Bring to Rehab: Items to Avoid!

Things to Avoid Bringing to a Rehab Center

Now that we’ve gone over what you can bring, let’s look at a few things you should not bring to rehab:

  • Drugs, alcohol, narcotics, and cigarettes.
  • Pornographic or controversial reading materials.
  • Electronics, including cell phones and video games.
  • Over-the-counter medications that contain alcohol.
  • Weapons, or any item that could be used to harm yourself or others.

Before you pack your bag for rehab, check with your treatment center about their list of allowed and prohibited items. This will help you avoid packing anything that could get you into trouble or interfere with your recovery.

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Get Prepared for Recovery at Catalina Behavioral Health

A rehab facility is a great place to focus on your recovery from addiction and figuring out what to bring to rehab can help make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable.

Catalina Behavioral Health will provide you with most of the things you need during your stay, but there are a few personal items you’ll want to bring with you. Make sure to pack the necessities and items that will help you stay occupied, like books, journals, and any necessary medications.

Be sure to avoid packing anything that could interfere with your recovery, like drugs or alcohol or unauthorized medications. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about what to pack for your stay at Catalina Behavioral Health, so please reach out to our Admissions team today and let’s get your recovery started!

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