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How Do I Know What to Bring to Rehab?

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You made the decision to get help and have been accepted to a treatment center. Now it’s time to pack. If you find yourself wondering, “How do I know what to bring to rehab?” you are not alone. Many people wonder the same thing and while most rehabs have individual guidelines, the following suggestions will give you a good start.


Prescribed medications are typically accepted as long as they are not narcotic. One exception to this is mental health medication. Some of those, even non-narcotic, are on the banned list at rehabs, though substitutes are usually fine.
Medications for things like:

Acid reflux
Blood pressure
Some anti-depressants
Anti-seizure … are generally acceptable.

With all other meds, it is best to call the center ahead of time. Request an accepted medication list so that if needed you can call your primary care physician, explain the situation and get him or her to call in something similar to what you are taking but is listed on the accepted medication roster.


The climate where your treatment center is located will dictate what you wear, however, there are some types of clothing that are typically banned. Don’t pack anything that has a photo, drawing or saying about:

Tobacco products
Alcohol – including liquor brands or slogans
Illegal drugs or substances
Marijuana – even in states where it is legal, rehabs do not want you promoting it

The above list is pretty standard throughout all rehab centers. In addition, clothing should not be too revealing.

Be sure to pack a variety of clothing styles. You will want comfortable, everyday wear for group sessions, outdoor activities, free time and trips into town. Also, bring along a small number of less casual clothing items. You might not use them, but it is better to have them with you than to find out once there that there are activities where you want to dress up a little but lack the ability. Include jackets, sweaters, hoodies, etc. if there is any chance that you will be in chilly weather conditions during your stay.

And don’t forget a bathing suit. Even if the center does not have a pool or beach on the property, it is possible there is one nearby.

Personal Hygiene

Shampoos, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant and the like are fine as long as none of them contain alcohol. This applies to mouthwash as well.

Pack brand new products that have not been opened. Rehabs are cautious about open or partially filled products because something could have been added to them before packing. Buy new, alcohol-free, personal hygiene items and you are good to go.


Books are often acceptable to bring. Do not pack books that promote substance abuse. You will be in treatment and the center will not encourage you to read things recreationally that promote the use of drugs or alcohol as positive activities.

Feel free to bring any religious/spiritual reading material as well as anything to do with substance abuse recovery.


It is probably best to leave the music, the earbuds, and other accessories at home. Not only do you take the chance of misplacing them during your stay, but some rehab centers have strict policies on the types of music that are acceptable during treatment. If you get to your rehab and they allow you to bring your own music and you are comfortable that you won’t misplace it, you can always have your family send it to you there.


Yes, by all means, pack some photos. Loved ones, your dog, your house, a poster that inspires you are all great things to have along for visual support. As with the clothing, do not bring any photos that promote alcohol, drugs or tobacco products. Get yourself a little photo album and fill it with some photos that mean something to you.

Essential Oils or Herbs and Supplements

While they can be wonderful tools for a variety of things, it is best to leave these at home for now. As with music, if you get to rehab and they say you can have them, you can have family send them to you. For the most part, the treatment center would rather monitor what you put into your body during your treatment and recovery launch.

The basic rule of thumb is to pack anything that is not related to drugs, alcohol or tobacco whether it is on clothing, in personal hygiene products, on a photo, or in a song or book.

You are embarking on an exciting step toward your future. Call 888-380-0667 of you have more questions about what to bring or how to get started in recovery.

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