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When you embark on a mental health disorder treatment program, it is understandable that you want to know what to bring to residential treatment. Depending on your needs, most programs will last between one and three months, sometimes longer, so you must be prepared.

Packing essentials in luggage- What to bring to residential treatment

What Is Residential Treatment?

Residential treatment is also called inpatient treatment. You will live at the treatment center throughout the duration of your program. The primary benefit of this type of treatment program is you can concentrate fully on your recovery. In this way, you do not have to worry about outside influences that could derail your progress.

How Do I Prepare for Residential Treatment?

Preparing for residential treatment involves selecting a treatment facility. First, you will want to complete the enrollment process and select the program start date. The facility’s enrollment specialist will answer any questions and provide you with a checklist of what you should bring. This list usually contains a section on items that are not allowed. If you have any questions about bringing something, it is best to call the treatment facility for clarification.

In addition, you should take the time to read the facility’s rules and regulations. This will help you better prepare for a structured environment and be aware of what is and is not allowed.

What to Bring to Residential Treatment

Generally, you will want to pack the following items to bring with you when you check into your residential treatment program:

  • Clothing. You should bring at least one week’s worth of clothing. The clothing should be comfortable and not restrictive. Depending on the time of year, you will also want seasonal clothing, like a hoodie or jacket. Remember to pack pajamas or other clothing you can sleep in.
  • Shoes. You will want to bring a pair of shoes that is comfortable to wear. Some facilities have restrictions on the types of shoes allowed, so verify whether your shoes are allowed.
  • Books. You should bring some books along to read during quiet times in the evening before lights out.
  • Laundry Supplies. Some facilities require you to bring your own laundry detergent and laundry supplies. Even when they supply them, you will still be responsible for washing and drying your clothes.
  • Toiletries or Personal Hygiene Items. You should bring shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, alcohol-free mouthwash, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, and other such items.
  • Sentimental Items. It is acceptable to bring photos of your family and children or a stuffed toy that has sentimental value.
  • Journal. Part of your recovery often includes writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
  • Medications and Vitamins. If you take prescription medications or vitamins, you can bring these with you. Ensure they are in their original bottles and have your name clearly printed on the outside. You will be required to surrender these upon check-in.
  • Sketchbook. If you like to draw, you can bring along a sketchbook.

Other Essentials

  • Identification. You will need a state-issued ID, driver’s license, or passport.
  • Insurance Card. You should bring your insurance card if your health insurance covers part of all of your treatment.
  • Credit or Debit Card or Cash. You will want to have access to money for various items, such as snacks and soft drinks.
  • Stationary, Envelopes, and Stamps. If you want to write letters to family and friends, you should bring these items with you.
  • Personal Comfort Items. You can bring your pillow or favorite blanket.
  • Important Contact Details. You should have a list of important contacts with the name, phone, and address, such as your spouse or doctor.

Other Items That May Be Allowed

Each residential treatment center sets its own rules on what is and is not allowed. The following are some items that may be allowed. However, you should verify directly with the facility before packing and arriving with them.

  • Music Players. While most facilities prohibit electronics, especially those with internet access. However, preloaded portable music players may be allowed.
  • Tobacco Products. Some facilities will allow you to bring tobacco products others do not.
  • Arts and Crafts Supplies. You may be allowed to bring certain art and craft supplies along to use during your down times and free times.
  • Board Games or Playing Cards. Most facilities will provide access to these items. However, some may allow you to bring along a deck of cards or your favorite board game.

Items to Leave at Home

There are several items you should not bring with you, including:

  • Video game systems
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Jewelry
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Razors
  • Beard trimmers
  • Scissors
  • Food, Snacks, Drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Illicit drugs

You can bring your smartphone with you. However, you will need to surrender it when you check-in. In such a case, you may want to leave your phone with someone you trust.

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