What to Bring to Rehab

Table of Contents


Detox and recovery from addiction can be challenging and overwhelming, so being confident about what to bring to rehab can help you to streamline the process. 

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SAMHSA data shows that 2.5 million over-12s in the United States engaged with treatment for drug substance use disorder (drug addiction) in 2020 from the 40 million diagnosed with substance use disorder in that year. Of the 28.5 million with alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), 2 million connected with professional treatment.       

Addiction treatment is available in the following formats: 


      • Outpatient rehab: Many people committed to recovery with a mild or moderate addiction find outpatient treatment offers an effective route to recovery. IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) bridge the gap between inpatient vs outpatient rehab.

      • Virtual rehab: Anyone unable or unwilling to engage in face-to-face addiction treatment can connect with online therapy and virtual rehab.

    If you are seeking residential treatment for an addiction to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs, you’ll need to check the policies of the treatment facility concerning what you can bring rehab and which items are prohibited. Today’s guide will help you clarify what you should take with you to make your rehab experience more comfortable and what you should leave behind. 

    What Can I Bring to Rehab?

    Before we break down what you need at rehab in more detail, a snapshot of ten key essentials you should not leave home without: 


        1. Prescription medications in their original packaging.

        1. Debit card or credit card.

        1. Cash in small bills.

        1. Contact details of all those involved in your recovery (loved ones, healthcare professionals, 12-step sponsors).

        1. ID (driver’s license and passport)

        1. Insurance cards

        1. Journal

        1. Radio alarm clock

        1. Reading material

        1. Paper, stamps, and envelopes.

      You should also consider that most rehabs have strict regulations prohibiting certain items – a T-shirt covered with drug references, for example. 

      Most of these items will be forbidden by most treatment facilities: 


          • Drugs.

          • Alcohol.

          • Medications without a supporting prescription.

          • Food and beverages.

          • Pornography in any form.

          • Sharp objects.

          • Weapons.

          • Beauty products or toiletries containing alcohol.

          • Clothing that is too revealing.

          • Unapproved OTC medications.

          • Unopened medications.

          • Nail products containing solvents.

          • Gaming consoles and video games.

          • Sporting equipment.

          • TVs.

          • DVDs.

          • Playing cards.

          • Incense.

          • Candles.

          • Aerosol.

        Policies concerning laptops and cellphones will vary between treatment centers. You can expect limited access to electronics unless you opt for an executive rehab program

        Vapes and cigarettes are usually permitted with limits in place on the amount of smoking or vape products you can bring to rehab. 

        Check with the private rehab center if you are in any doubt about any part of your intended baggage to ensure intake goes as smoothly as possible. 

        An image of two individuals discussing what to bring to rehab

        What to Bring to Inpatient Rehab

        To help you to individualize your rehab packing list, here are the essentials you need grouped in five core categories: 


            1. Documentation and ID

            1. Clothing

            1. Prescription medication

            1. Toiletries

            1. Reading and writing materials

          1) Documentation and ID

          Bring all of the following with you to rehab: 


              • State-issued ID, passport, or driver’s license

              • Prescription card

              • Pharmacy card

              • Health insurance card

            2) Clothing

            Speak with the rehab center you are attending about dress code as most have rigid rules in places concerning what is and is not acceptable. 

            Most decent inpatient rehab centers will provide access to laundry machines or a laundry service. Bearing this in mind, aim to pack enough clothing for a week or so. Focus on packing easy-care clothes. 

            Use this framework to personalize the right collection of clothes for inpatient rehab: 


                • Socks

                • Underwear

                • T-shirts

                • Shirts

                • Cardigans

                • Sweaters

                • Comfy shoes

                • Slides or flip-flops

                • Pants

                • Dress

                • Coat

                • Jacket

                • Hat

                • Belt

                • Shorts

                • Bathing suit (one-piece for women, trunks for men)

                • Bath robe

                • Slippers

                • PJs

                • Smarter outfit

              3) Prescription medication

              Take any of the following medications you are using when you go to rehab: 


                  • Sealed vitamins or supplements

                  • Prescription medications

                  • OTC medications

                  • Liquid medications

                Make sure that all medications you take are in the original packaging. Any liquid medications must be unopened with the seal intact to eliminate the chance of using them as vehicle for taking alcohol into rehab. 

                You should list the prescription medications you are currently taking along with the dosages for the benefit of your treatment team.

                Any medications containing alcohol and all narcotic medications will be prohibited at all drug and alcohol rehab centers.

                4) Toiletries

                Take a supply of toiletries and beauty products to last you the duration of your stay at residential rehab, typically anywhere from one to three months. 

                Do not pack any toiletries that contain alcohol as one of the first three ingredients. Avoid aerosols, too. 

                Ensure that you leave all toiletries and beauty products in the original packaging. 

                Customize this list accordingly to make sure you have everything you need at rehab:


                    • Toothbrush

                    • Toothpaste

                    • Deodorant

                    • Hair products

                    • Shampoo

                    • Conditioner

                    • Feminine hygiene products

                    • Shaving kit

                    • Comb or brush

                    • Moisturizer

                    • Balm

                    • Lotion

                    • Makeup

                    • Sunscreen

                  5) Reading and writing materials

                  Take a journal or notebook so you can express your thoughts in writing as you undertake some significant life changes at rehab. 

                  Pack some uplifting or entertaining books in line with your mood. 

                  If you want to correspond with friends or family outside of the treatment facility, take some paper, envelopes, and stamps.

                  an image of the california detox & California rehab facility

                  Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab at California Detox

                  At California Detox, you can access treatment for alcohol use disorders, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and mental health disorders at all levels of intensity. We offer the following programs: 


                      • OPs (traditional outpatient programs)

                      • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)

                      • Virtual IOPs (remote rehab)

                      • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)

                      • Inpatient rehab (residential treatment)

                    For anyone at risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, our supervised medical detox programs help streamline the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms in a luxury beachside setting. Get your recovery started the right way, and as comfortably and safely as possible. 

                    Whatever treatment intensity is most appropriate, your personalized treatment plan at California Detox draws from these research-backed interventions


                        • Counseling (individual and group)

                        • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

                        • Family therapy

                        • Holistic therapy

                      Act today to reclaim your life from addiction by reaching out to admissions at 949.567.8790.


                      No. We have assembled the above list with a longer-term stay in mind.
                      Some private rehab centers allow you to use cellphones and laptops to stay anchored to your professional commitments while you engage with treatment. Most regular rehabs allow regulated access outside of therapy sessions. Regardless of the rehab program you choose, you should focus above all else on your recovery. Indiscriminate access to a smart phone and social media would run counter to treatment goals.


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