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Treatment for Sufentanil Addiction | Boca Recovery Center

Sufentanil is such a potent drug — up to 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. As a result, sufentanil addiction tends to be intense, necessitating comprehensive and powerful treatment.

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Sufentanil addiction involves compulsive use of this opioid painkiller despite negative consequences and impaired life functioning. An addiction to sufentanil can be treated in many different settings, including inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and standard outpatient. Medical detox and medication-assisted treatment may also be used. Throughout treatment, you’ll learn to build a healthier, balanced life in recovery.

Sufentanil is a potent opioid drug — up to 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. As a result, sufentanil addiction tends to be intense, necessitating comprehensive and powerful treatment. [1], [2]

Treatment Options for Sufentanil Addiction

The treatment options for sufentanil addiction vary depending on the severity of the addiction, the individual’s needs, and a treatment professional’s recommended approach. Again, sufentanil is an incredibly potent drug. Addiction to it generally means a severe addiction that requires more intensive care. [2]

There are several treatment options and settings available, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is often delivered as part of an inpatient or outpatient treatment model and can be used indefinitely.

Medical Detox for Sufentanil Withdrawal

Since sufentanil is an opioid, withdrawal may be very distressing or severe. Because of the extreme discomfort and pain, medical detox is often recommended for opioid withdrawal. Medical detox involves 24/7 medical monitoring, care, and supervision to ensure your safety and comfort. It may involve:

  • The use of opioid withdrawal medications like methadone or buprenorphine
  • Supportive care like IV fluids
  • Adjunctive medications
  • Mental health counseling
  • Case management and wraparound services

Medical detox is not a substitute for formal addiction treatment—rather, it is the first step on the continuum of care. Once you go through sufentanil withdrawal and are medically stable, you can transition into an inpatient or outpatient rehab where you’ll attend therapy and support groups.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient treatment is a highly structured and intensive form of addiction treatment in which individuals reside at a treatment center for an extended period while they receive many treatment modalities, such as:

  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • MAT
  • Support groups
  • Drug education classes
  • Experiential therapy

This type of treatment is often best suited for individuals with a moderate to severe sufentanil addiction, someone without a strong support system at home, or someone with a history of relapsing or outpatient dropout.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) serve as a nice bridge between inpatient and outpatient care. It is extremely intensive, involving up to 30 hours of therapy per week in a clinic or hospital and then returning home in the evenings.

This may be the first treatment program you enter for sufentanil addiction or it may be used as “step-down care” after you finish inpatient rehab.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a nice balance between intensive treatment and flexibility. You live at home and attend between 9 and 20 hours of counseling per week. 

Again, it may be your first point of contact with substance abuse treatment or you may step down to it from inpatient treatment or a PHP.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient treatment is a less intensive option that allows individuals to attend therapy sessions while continuing to live at home or in another supportive and safe living environment. 

Outpatient care is most appropriate for those with mild to moderate addiction who want to be able to maintain some degree of their daily routines. Depending on the intensity of the outpatient treatment program, some people continue to work or attend school during treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be provided either in an inpatient or outpatient setting. This approach combines the use of medication, such as buprenorphine, Suboxone, methadone, or naltrexone, with behavioral therapy to effectively treat opioid use disorder (OUD), such as sufentanil addiction. [3]

Overall, these different types of treatments provide individuals with various options that cater to their specific needs and level of addiction severity. No one treatment is universally “best.” Instead, the ideal treatment will depend on individual circumstances.

Therapies for Sufentanil Addiction

The most successful way to treat sufentanil addiction involves a comprehensive approach tailored to the person’s unique situation. This multifaceted approach to treatment includes utilizing medication-assisted treatment when appropriate, engaging in behavioral therapy sessions, and receiving consistent aftercare support.

One of the most common forms of therapy used to treat opioid addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that focuses on the relationship between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapy aims to assist individuals in recognizing and modifying detrimental patterns of thinking and behavior that could be influencing their mental health concerns. By promoting a cooperative and organized approach, people acquire techniques to question negative thoughts and beliefs while fostering the development of healthier coping strategies.

Other forms of therapy that may be used in your individualized treatment plan include:

  • Group therapy: A therapist or psychologist facilitates a session in which people share about a specific issue, everyone learns and practices a new coping skill, patients engage in re-enactment or role-play, and patients learn sober social skills.
  • Family therapy: A mental health professional facilitates a session with one or more family member with the goal of increasing the understanding around sufentanil addiction, improving conflict resolution and communication skills, and healing fractures caused by substance misuse.
  • Person-centered therapy: The therapist focuses on the strengths and goals of the person, providing affirmation and care so they can begin to see themself as someone beyond a person who misuses drugs.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): A therapist works with the patient to decrease the distress related to traumatic memories, using focused eye movements.
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy: A therapist works with the client to increase the likelihood they’ll join a 12-step support group like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
  • Contingency management: The treatment team provides patients with tangible rewards like vouchers or money for engaging in abstinent behaviors.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy: The therapist focuses on improving patient motivation to quit sufentanil and goal setting.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): This form of cognitive-behavioral therapy involves individual talk therapy and an education component to improve core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation.
  • Experiential or holistic therapies: Combined with evidence-based therapies, holistic therapies may help with healing, self-expression, and self-esteem. These may include art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy, yoga, and more.

Aftercare Following Completion of Treatment

Sufentanil is a powerful drug, and the risk of relapse is high following the competition of an addiction treatment program. Finishing a program is an important milestone, marking the beginning of a lifelong journey of maintaining sobriety. 

To ensure individuals who have completed treatment continue to receive support and guidance, aftercare becomes crucial as they transition back into their daily lives. Aftercare services encompass various forms of assistance and can include:

The purpose of these services is to help individuals sustain their sobriety and address any challenges that may emerge along the way. Ultimately, aftercare aims to provide ongoing support and accountability for individuals in their pursuit of a successful and fulfilling life in recovery.

Aftercare Approaches

Individual or group therapy is beneficial for addressing underlying issues that may have contributed to opioid abuse. It also serves a vital role in preventing those issues from causing relapses in the future. Therapy offers continuous support and guidance as individuals navigate the obstacles of recovery. 

Additionally, attending 12-step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can cultivate a sense of community and support system for those in recovery. Secular support groups like SMART Recovery offer an alternative approach to recovery by emphasizing self-empowerment and self-reliance for individuals who don’t find that the 12-step approach fits their needs.

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse is a common occurrence in addiction recovery, particularly in recovery from addictions to strong opioids like sufentanil. Even though it is not a sign of failure, relapse can be devastating for individuals who have worked hard to achieve sobriety. 

Relapse prevention techniques are essential to help individuals stay on track and avoid a return to drug use. The following are some techniques that can be helpful in preventing relapse:[4]

  • Identify triggers. Individuals in recovery should identify the people, places, and situations that may trigger cravings for sufentanil or other opioids. Avoiding or managing these triggers can help to prevent relapse. You must have a plan in place, or it’s likely you’ll relapse.
  • Develop coping skills. Healthy coping skills, such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and healthy eating, can help individuals manage stress and prevent relapse. These provide practical activities to participate in when your stress levels or cravings are high.
  • Build a support network. Having a support network of family, friends, and peers in recovery can provide accountability, encouragement, and guidance as you navigate the challenges of recovery.
  • Attend meetings and therapy. Ongoing attendance at 12-step meetings, support groups, and therapy can provide ongoing encouragement and guidance as you maintain your sobriety.
  • Practice self-care. Practicing self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in enjoyable activities, can help you to maintain an overall sense of well-being and prevent relapse.

When it comes to recovering from a severe opioid addiction, like one to sufentanil, aftercare services and relapse prevention techniques are critically important. Aftercare services play an integral role by offering continual guidance and support while you reintegrate into your regular life. Employing relapse prevention techniques assists you in staying committed to your recovery journey by avoiding a lapse into drug use once again. 

With proper assistance and tools, you can create a rich life even when grappling with intermittent cravings for opioids that were once abused. The path to sustained recovery is not always easy, but the rewards of a healthier, safer, and more fulfilling life are well worth it.

Updated September 26, 2023
  1. Sufentanil Citrate. National Cancer Institute.
  2. Sufentanil Citrate Injection. Food and Drug Administration.
  3. Opioid Misuse and Addiction Treatment. (October 2019). National Library of Medicine.
  4. How to Avoid a Relapse When Things Seem Out of Control. (November 2020). Harvard Health Publishing.
  5. Opioid Dependence Treatment: Options In Pharmacotherapy. (August 2010). Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy.
  6. Trends in Opioid Use, Harms, and Treatment. (July 2017). Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use.
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