The Dos and Don'ts of Packing for Rehab

What to Bring to Rehab?

When a person reaches the point in their addiction that they’re ready to take the plunge and attend rehab, there are usually more important things on their mind than whether they should pack a pair of sweatpants for every day of the week or throw in some more formal attire for their stint in treatment.

As the prospect of rehab becomes more real, minutia like what exactly to pack (and equally important, what exactly to leave at home) becomes increasingly important. The fact is, many addicts who plan to attend rehab for the first time feel out of their depth when it comes to the practical aspects of seeking treatment.

Fortunately, choosing what to bring to rehab isn’t exactly rocket science. Those preparing for inpatient treatment can mostly figure out what they ought to pack with a little common sense and foresight.

Clothing and Personal Hygiene Items

This category ranks as the most obvious on the list of what to bring to rehab. Of course, a patient should pack at least a week’s worth of socks and undergarments. Most facilities will offer the ability to do laundry, but without assurance of how often that opportunity will come, patients should prepare for a full week.

From there, patients should bring comfortable shirts, pants or shorts, and shoes. During the process of packing these items, particular attention should be paid to any specific facility dress codes. For example, some treatment facilities may have rules about tank tops, lengths of shorts, or graphics on shirts. Following these rules now will save patients from having too few items to wear once at rehab.

Beyond everyday clothing, plenty of pajamas or loungewear, as well as a formal outfit or two, are a good idea. Some rehab centers will have special “family days” or something of the like where a more put-together appearance is encouraged.

Lastly, any personal hygiene items that a person uses on a regular basis should be packed. This might include things like toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and a hairbrush. Most facilities will require that any toiletries are completely alcohol-free, and generally don’t allow aerosol into the facility with patients. This means things like mouthwash and hairspray should be selected carefully.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Important Documents and Items to Aid Treatment

Attending rehab is a deeply personal experience. It requires a great deal of internal reflection to foster growth.

Of course, some of the important documents a patient should bring to rehab aren’t related to addiction recovery (they’re also required when a person is attending physical rehab). These are things such as an insurance card and emergency contact information that you should keep in mind.

In addition to these logistical documents, items that can assist with the different therapeutic aspects of rehab ought to be packed. A notebook in which to record changing emotions, a list of family members and close friends with whom a patient feels that they need to make amends, stamps and envelopes if a patient wishes to mail letters, and a calling card if a facility requires them.

Many rehabs have a blackout period where you can’t use the phone, but then you’ll be free to call loved ones to check-in. Cell phones are sometimes kept by the facility so you can focus on treatment, but there are phones available for scheduled phone times. These days, most of us just turn to our contact lists rather than memorizing numbers, so be sure to write down important phone numbers beforehand.

A large part of effective addiction treatment relies upon treating the underlying cause of that addiction. This means that remaining vulnerable and open to personal revelation is critical to recovery. In turn, any items that serve as a source of comfort could be packed for rehab—this might be a blanket knitted by the patient’s grandmother, or a photo of their family.

A good rule of thumb when packing necessities beyond clothing and toiletries for rehab is to think of it as a visit to the doctor coupled with an extended therapy session. An insurance card, identification, and other such items are necessary, but so are reflection tools.

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

What Not to Bring to Rehab

What’s important as what a patient should bring to rehab are the items that they absolutely should not bring.

Some of this depends on the specific addiction from which a patient is suffering. For example, someone grappling with alcohol addiction should not want to bring books that romanticize drinking.  

It’s always the safest bet to talk to the rehab facility before you go to see if you can get a list of what you can or cannot bring. Something that should go without saying is that no illicit substances should be brought into the rehab facility.

Finding Success in Rehab

A comprehensive and thoughtful packing list is one of the simplest ways that a patient can ensure their time at rehab won’t be wasted. As cliche as it may sound, perhaps the most important thing of all to bring to rehab is simply an open mind and a positive attitude about the experience.

With an intentionally designed, customized treatment plan and the right mindset, every patient is capable of overcoming their addiction; bringing the right items will merely provide extra assistance during one of the most trying times in patients’ lives.

For anyone ready to take the leap into a healthier and more productive lifestyle free of substance abuse and addiction, Nexus Recovery is here to help, so contact us today.

If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and/or dual diagnosis, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter and get our blogs delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Call Now