Wellbutrin and other antidepressant medications can be a vital tool for someone battling depression or anxiety. However, as with all drugs, Wellbutrin comes with certain side effects that can be dangerous if mixed with alcohol.

There are many medications that interact negatively with alcohol, which is why so many drugs come with an explicit warning not to mix with alcohol. When Wellbutrin and alcohol are mixed together, individuals are at risk for health issues such as nausea, vomiting, seizures, and impairment.

What Is Wellbutrin (Bupropion)?

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a prescription medication commonly prescribed to treat depression, seasonal affective disorder (“winter depression”), and to help people quit smoking.

Wellbutrin treats depression differently than many other antidepressant medications, as it’s classified as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). NDRIs are often prescribed for those who haven’t responded well to other antidepressant medications, or who struggled with side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

Some common brand names for bupropion include:

  • Budeprion SR
  • Aplenzin
  • Forfivo XL
  • Wellbutrin SR
  • Wellbutrin XL
  • Zyban

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Can You Mix Wellbutrin And Alcohol?

Because alcohol is largely considered socially acceptable, some people may forget that it’s a substance that can be harmful when misused. If you take any regular prescription medications, it’s important to understand how alcohol can interact with your medication.

Some people who take Wellbutrin may be able to drink occasionally without any side effects. However, if an individual mixes alcohol with Wellbutrin regularly, or drinks large amounts of alcohol with Wellbutrin, it can be hazardous to their health.

Some of the risks of taking Wellbutrin with alcohol include:

  • alcohol poisoning
  • blackouts
  • blurred vision
  • dizzy spells
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • poor judgment
  • paranoia
  • seizures
  • suicidal thoughts
  • vomiting

Side Effects Of Wellbutrin

Any time a medication is recommended, the prescribing physician should explain the risks of the drug. All drugs come with some level of risk, and if your doctor has prescribed Wellbutrin, they’ve asserted the benefits of this medication should outweigh any potential side effects.

However, there are side effects associated with Wellbutrin that are unique to this medication. Some people taking Wellbutrin may experience little to no side effects, whereas others have a difficult time adjusting to any dosage amount. Keep your doctor informed about any side effects or changes you notice in relation to your Wellbutrin prescription.

Wellbutrin is associated with the following side effects:

  • lethargy
  • excitement
  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • upset stomach
  • changes in weight
  • constipation
  • frequent urination
  • sore throat
  • shakiness
  • extreme sweating

Sometimes, Wellbutrin can cause serious and fatal side effects. If you or someone you know begins displaying any of these signs or symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Serious side effects of Wellbutrin include:

  • disorientation
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • joint pain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • seizures

Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Wellbutrin And Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant drug and should be used with caution, especially for those who struggle with depression. Mixing alcohol with an antidepressant medication like Wellbutrin not only increases the side effects of both drugs but can heighten the chances of developing a physical dependence or addiction to alcohol.

Combining alcohol and Wellbutrin can have long-term effects on your health, including:

  • decreased effectiveness of Wellbutrin
  • increased risk of abusing alcohol or becoming addicted
  • higher chance of becoming physically dependent on alcohol
  • elevated risk of overdose

If you take Wellbutrin and are wondering about how it will interact with alcohol, make sure to ask your doctor and be honest about the amount you drink.

Medically Supervised Detox Programs For Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is often used to mask or self-medicate the symptoms of depression, but mixing alcohol with an antidepressant-like Wellbutrin can be extremely dangerous. Additionally, regularly mixing alcohol with any medication can be a sign of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Over 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse, and nearly half of those also have a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome. If you or someone you love is mixing Wellbutrin with alcohol, or displaying other signs of alcohol addiction, you are not in this alone.

There is help available, in the form of drug and alcohol addiction treatment program options. There are various drug and alcohol rehab centers available throughout the U.S., many of which include specialized care for dual diagnosis, medication-assisted treatment, and medically supervised detox services.

When someone drinks large amounts of alcohol, their body can become dependent on the substance, meaning it requires a certain amount of the drug in order to function normally. If the body does not receive the substance, they may begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the signs of alcohol withdrawal include:  

  • anxiety
  • shaking hands
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • changes in mood
  • enlarged pupils
  • agitation
  • headaches
  • lowered appetite
  • hallucinations
  • seizures

Due to the serious nature of some of these symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and should always take place under medical supervision. A medically supervised detox program allows the patient to safely pass through the withdrawal stage and begin their treatment. Medical detox services will likely include encouragement, medication-assisted treatment, and help determine a treatment plan.

Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

In order for detox to be considered successful, the healthcare providers have to work with the participant toward developing the next steps for their course of treatment. This includes outlining the types of treatment facilities and therapy options available.

Some of the treatment styles found in alcohol rehab centers include:

  • Inpatient programs: This residential-style program provides temporary living space for patients in which to begin their recovery. Considered the highest level of care, inpatient treatment provides a safe and structured environment, where patients are able to practice sober living skills in a supportive atmosphere. Therapies provided may include group and individual counseling, 12-Step support groups, wellness care, and holistic therapies like meditation and yoga.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs): The next level of care includes PHPs, where patients engage in a daytime treatment program. Typically offered five days per week, for six hours per day, PHPs provide addiction education, family therapy sessions, and medication-assisted treatment in a supervised environment.
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)s: IOPs provide the most flexible scheduling options for alcohol addiction treatment, as they are usually offered with morning or evening sessions. IOPs will provide many of the same treatments as other alcohol rehab facilities, but may also have requirements such as regular drug screenings, in order to maintain accountability.

If you have questions about mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol, or finding treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction, reach out to one of our specialists today.