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Table of Contents

Is Wellbutrin Bad for You? The Side Effects of Wellbutrin Use
Understanding the Risks of Wellbutrin Withdrawal
Who Needs Wellbutrin Addiction Treatment?

First approved for clinical use in 1985, Wellbutrin—also known by its generic drug name bupropion—is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in Northern America for treatment of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in addition to smoking cessation (and some indication it may be helpful for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Other names for Wellbutrin include Aplenzin, Budeprion, Forfivo, Chantix, and Zyban. It comes as an extended-release tablet or immediate-release tablet.  

Is Wellbutrin a narcotic? No; in fact, Wellbutrin is part of a class of antidepressants referred to as aminoketones. While narcotics bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, aminoketones work by blocking reuptake of the neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, allowing more opportunity for them to transmit messages to other neurons.

Contrary to some sources, there is no evidence it affects serotonin levels like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) do. SSRIs are a different class of antidepressant drugs with a different mechanism of action against episodes of depression. 

Despite not being a narcotic, Wellbutrin does have the potential to become addictive. As such, if you or a loved one is prescribed Wellbutrin, it is important to take it exactly as directed by your doctor. Keep an eye out for red flags that may indicate things have spiraled out of control and Wellbutrin addiction treatment has become necessary.


Is Wellbutrin Bad for You? The Side Effects of Wellbutrin Abuse

Although Wellbutrin has been clinically proven effective for its intended treatment (notably depressive disorders) and is not considered addictive when used as prescribed, there have been widely reported cases of abuse. 

A single dose should not exceed 150mg and no more than 3 daily doses should be taken with at least 6 hours between doses (maximum dose per day is 450mg). However, you should always get a doctor’s recommendation and never self-medicate.

When getting a prescription, it is important for your healthcare provider to know the medical history as well as family history, as some conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, seizure disorder (or history of seizures), head injury, a history of having a heart attack, and some mental illness like bipolar disorder will pose as risk factors with drugs like Wellbutrin. 

It can especially exacerbate episodes of mania in bipolar disorder, though it may be used (as prescribed) to treat bipolar depression, it is not generally recommended for this condition. Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, be sure to let your doctor know as it can affect this and passes into breast milk too.

As well as being cognizant of any signs of allergic reaction (e.g. difficult breathing, swollen glands, itching, fever) and seek medical attention if any adverse events. Let your health care professional also know if you are taking any other medications to avoid any potentially dangerous drug interaction and further adverse events. It is also best not to take alcoholic beverages while using this drug.

When taken as prescribed, Wellbutrin users report minor and generally manageable side effects. These include:

However, these common side effects become exponentially greater when the drug is abused. Serious and potentially life-threatening adverse effects associated with Wellbutrin abuse include:

Because Wellbutrin is not intended to be used intravenously, injection poses particularly serious and sometimes fatal risks, including severe skin lesions and damage to blood vessels.


Understanding the Risks of Wellbutrin Withdrawal

Even for those who do not resort to extreme measures such as injecting Wellbutrin intravenously, it is possible to become addicted to Wellbutrin simply by taking it in too high of a dose range or for too long. If you suspect that you or a loved one have become dependent on Wellbutrin, addiction treatment in a clinical setting is strongly encouraged due to the potential risks withdrawal poses for those trying to quit using bupropion on their own. 

Dose reduction should always be done with the consultation of a healthcare professional. Emergency medical care should be sought out if any of the adverse reactions become too much.

Withdrawal symptoms will differ in severity and duration depending on how long the user was abusing Wellbutrin, but common withdrawal symptoms include:

A relapse of depression or depressive episodes could also occur, requiring further treatment. It can be helpful to consider behavioral therapy during the course of experiencing depressive symptoms. Be very cognizant of symptoms of depression cropping back up.

The withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, even dangerous, to suffer through at home. The medical expertise of trained addiction specialists and the clinically advanced setting of a detox center provides a far safer and more effective option for recovery than attempting to detox at home. Likewise, professional addiction treatment offers the best hope for long-term healing and sobriety.


Who Needs Wellbutrin Addiction Treatment?

If you or your loved one has become addicted to Wellbutrin or other medications in the bupropion family, it’s important to seek help from clinical professionals. Addiction specialists can help you address not only the addiction itself, but also the underlying causes and triggers fueling that addiction. Together with their help, it’s possible to get clean and stay clean by building resilience and healthy coping mechanisms that will continue to serve you and your family well in the years to come.

New Choices Treatment Centers offer detox and addiction treatment programming for individuals struggling with Wellbutrin dependence and other addictions. To get help for yourself or a loved one, contact us or call us today at (726) 888-7003.


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