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What Kind of Clothes Should I Bring to a Drug Rehab Center?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 4, 2019

Properly packing for a rehabilitation stay is crucial to your success. This is especially true of the clothes you bring. Bringing the right amount and the right kind of clothes can help increase your comfort level during this difficult period and may even help you get along better with rehabilitation specialists and anyone else staying in the center.

Clothes To Bring

Every piece of clothing you bring to a rehab center should be comfortable and casual because most centers will allow you just seven days worth of clothing, no matter the length of your stay. Therefore, everything should be sized appropriately, comfortable, and easy to wash.

The types of clothes you should bring to a drug rehab center include:

  • Seven pairs of daily wear (shirt, underwear, socks, pants)
  • Shorts (weather permitting)
  • At least one coat
  • A bath robe (for privacy)
  • Warm hats for winter weather
  • Comfortable slippers
  • One belt

Basically, you want to create a wardrobe that is comfortable enough to live in for a month, without being inappropriate. However, it is important to remember that dress codes will vary depending on the facility and that it’s a good idea to check your clothing with the center administrator.

Clothes You Shouldn’t Wear

Avoid bringing any clothing that would not have been acceptable in high school. For example, you shouldn’t bring short shorts (those more than an inch or two above your knee), halter tops, or any clothes that lets people see your skin or underwear when you lift your arms or move your legs.

Remember: you are sharing a center with a wide variety of people. Some may be offended by inappropriate clothes, while others may see it as an invitation for inappropriate behaviors. While this type of behavior is never your fault, it can still be emotionally traumatizing and may jeopardize your treatment.

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It is also important to remember that some rehabilitation centers also treat people who suffer from sex addictions. Wearing inappropriate clothes is unfair to them and can make their treatment unbearable or impossible.

Likewise, you shouldn’t wear any type of clothing that features inappropriate slogans or language or any type of reference to drug use. Clothes like these often exasperate difficulties others may be having in rehab and can also indicate a lack of seriousness to your treatment specialist.

However, you should also avoid overdressing. You’re not at a country club or on vacation: you’re undertaking a serious and important medical treatment. Avoid wearing excessive makeup, jewelry, or fancy clothes that are only appropriate in specific situations (tuxedos, high heel shoes, etc).

Toiletry Items To Bring

Beyond your clothing, you will also need to bring essential toiletry items. While some centers may provide some items, most don’t. So always make sure to bring a bag with enough toiletry items for at least a month. Toiletry items you should bring to drug rehabilitation include:

  • All prescription drugs (carefully sealed and stored)
  • Unopened over-the-counter medications, such as melatonin or Aspirin
  • Shaving equipment (cream and pre-approved razors)
  • Laundry items (soap, baskets)
  • Personal alarm clock
  • Calling cards
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Tooth care items
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Hair brush

Other Item Limitations

Bringing your own food is frowned upon by drug rehabilitation centers because it violates your recovery diet. Therefore, bringing in items such as soda or chips is usually frowned upon. However, rehabilitation centers will let you bring in cigarettes if you’re a smoker.

Be prepared to learn how to heavily limit your smoking: some centers will allow only five packs over a 30-day period or a carton over three months. As a result, you’re going to have to learn how to monitor your intake, especially if you’re a heavy smoker.

Self-help books and recover books are usually allowed in drug rehabilitation centers. However, more generalized books (or those glorifying any type of drug use) are probably going to be taken away from you until you finish with your treatment.

And don’t even think about bringing iPods, tablets, Smartphones, or any type of cell phone that can connect to the Internet. These items will be quickly taken away from you and will be stored safely until you’re done.

To many, this may seem harsh or even cruel, but it has a purpose. It helps keep people away from potentially harmful websites or communication. After all, treatment effectiveness is shot if someone is getting Facebook messages from their dealer trying to set them up.

Educating Yourself

Following these guidelines should help you fit right into your rehabilitation center and avoid any kind of personal conflicts. If you are interested in more information about drug rehabilitation or need help creating a list of items, please contact us at today to learn more.

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