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What to take to rehab with you…

It’s completely normal to be concerned or anxious about the specifics of what rehab will look and feel like.

Every centre will have specific guidance around how the days will look, the treatment involved, the environment and what you can or cannot take with you.

When you’re deciding which centre to go to it’s perfectly acceptable to ask about the specifics of how that centre operates.

Often rehab centres can provide a packing list to help you decide what to take with you. 

The following guidelines should help with understanding what to take to rehab and help you to pack for rehab. They are a summary of what most rehab centres will advise you to bring and not to bring with you. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about rehab, offer advice about the rehab centres in the UK and can organise immediate bookings where appropriate for you.

What to take to rehab 

  • Clothing including a coat 
  • A small amount of Cash 
  • Cigarettes / Tobacco (if you smoke) 
  • Toiletries
  • Any prescribed Medication you are currently receiving 
  • Emergency contact details
  • Photos
  • Books
  • Phone and or laptop or tablet computer

Your phone and or laptop

Lots of people are concerned about whether they’ll be able to take their phone with them into rehab.

Most residential treatment centres will allow you to take your phone and/or laptop with you. There may be restrictions over when and where you can use them.

Comfortable clothing

Comfortable, casual clothing is usually the most appropriate for your stay in rehab. 

All centres have laundry facilities so a week’s worth of clothes is plenty. Space may also be limited so it is best not to over pack. 

It’s best not to take anything that has special washing instructions or needs to be dry cleaned – keep it simple.

As many centres offer therapies such as yoga, some have a gym and others a pool – it’s worth taking sports clothing, trainers and swimming items too. 

As part of your therapy, you may be outdoors or going on off-site trips so ensure you have layers to keep you warm and a coat, depending on the time of year.

You may like to take one or two slightly smarter outfits for family visits or graduation events should that be included.

What to take to rehab

Necessary valuables

Keep cash and valuables to an absolute minimum. It’s sensible to have a small amount of cash with you but you won’t need much.

In terms of other valuables and jewellery, it is best to avoid taking them.  

You may need a cash card to pay for additional treatments.

Cigarettes and or tobacco

Smoking is usually allowed in designated areas of rehab centres so do feel free to take your cigarettes/tobacco.

Essential toiletries

Some rehab centres will insist on all toiletries and personal items being in new, unsealed containers.

Anything containing alcohol, such as certain mouthwashes, is usually not allowed.

Disposable razors and nail clippers may be allowed but may need to be checked in and out for your shower.

Prescribed medications

Prescribed medications and any relating instructions should be taken with you and declared on your arrival. Your rehab centre is likely to require these to be in original packaging and to include printed labels. If you have a repeat prescription and/or details of medications you’ve previously been on, these are helpful too.

Important phone numbers and contact details 

It’s a good idea to arrive with a list of important contact details, for people such as your GP, next-of-kin, close friends and family. You may also wish to include your employer or HR team on the list, where relevant.

Photos of loved ones

You may like to take a few favourite photos with you to keep in your room.

Books and reading materials

Some centres will prefer to provide your reading material during your stay. Others will allow certain types of books. Magazines and newspapers may not be allowed. Anything promoting alcohol or drugs or that contains offensive or pornographic messages or images will not be permitted in rehab.  

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What not to take to rehab

There will be restricted items at your rehab centre which can vary between different sites. 

The following are guidelines around some of the things you are likely not to be allowed to take with you into rehab:

  • Drugs and alcohol are strictly banned. 
  • You will be provided with medication to reduce and manage withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Toiletries that contain alcohol. 
  • Ensure you check through the ingredients of your favoured brands as items with alcohol will not be allowed in.
  • Food and drink. You will be provided with meals, drinks and snacks in rehab and will not usually be permitted to bring your own. Creating and promoting a balanced and healthy diet may well form part of your treatment plan.
  • Valuables. Leave all, barring absolutely necessary jewellery and valuables at home. You will likely be permitted to keep a wedding ring or other important religious or cultural items with you.
  • Cards and games. Most rehab centres have a stock of hobby and leisure items and will make these available at appropriate times.

Remember, details around the specifics of what you’ll be permitted and advised to take with you will vary based on the rehab centre you choose. This can be discussed in detail at the booking stage. Please do get in touch for further information and advice.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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