Packing for Rehab: What Items to Leave at Home

man rolling suitcase down street

If you’re getting ready to go to rehab or you’re helping a loved one prepare to go into a drug and alcohol treatment center, you need to know that certain items are not allowed for clients in treatment. Some of them are barred for health and security reasons, while others are not permitted because they would potentially interfere with a client fully immersing himself in the experience.

What Kinds of Items Should I Leave at Home During Rehab?

Each inpatient recovery center has its own rules about the types of items that should be left at home during rehab. If you have questions or concerns about whether a specific item would be allowed during your own or a loved one’s stay, contact the facility directly. They will be happy to answer your questions.

If you happen to bring something to the center that isn’t allowed, it will be either given to a family member to hold onto while you are in treatment or stored securely until you are ready to leave.

Items Not Allowed for Health Reasons

For health reasons, most facilities ask you to avoid bringing the following:

  • Over-the-counter medications. This would include any herbal or dietary supplements, as well as protein powders. The staff needs to strictly monitor anything clients are taking, since supplements and other products may contain ingredients that can affect medications being given at the treatment center.
  • Hand sanitizers or mouthwashes containing alcohol. While you may not be personally be tempted to drink either of these products, there may be other clients in treatment who may be. The best option is not to have anything containing alcohol brought into the center at all.
  • Toiletries that are not in the original containers. All shampoo, body wash, and other personal care products must be in their original containers. Otherwise, there is no way to confirm their contents.

Items Not Allowed for Security Reasons

To provide a safe and secure environment for everyone, facilities often ask that you avoid bringing:

  • Cameras and cell phones. Clients go into treatment with the expectation that all aspects of their stay will be held in the strictest confidence. No one wants to be recorded without their knowledge while seeking help for substance abuse, since they will be sharing some very personal information during their stay. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to ban all cameras and cell phones from the facility. Make a list of anyone you’ll want to contact while you are in the treatment facility on a piece of paper, including their address and phone numbers, since you won’t have access to your cell phone.
  • Items that could be used as a weapon. Pocket knives, small scissors, and similar items should be left at home.
  • Candles and incense. Candles and incense can be soothing, but they can present a fire hazard and a risk to the security of clients and staff at an inpatient facility. They are best saved for after you return home.

Items Not Allowed for Social Reasons

Depending on the facility you choose, you may be asked to leave certain items at home because they tend to discourage interacting with others. Part of the treatment at a residential program includes encouraging clients to interact with each other. Staff members want clients to improve their social skills. For this reason, some facilities ask that clients refrain from bringing solo games or decks of cards with them.

Preparing for Treatment at English Mountain Recovery

English Mountain Recovery has prepared a detailed guide outlining what to bring to treatment and what you should leave at home. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

By Jodee Redmond

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