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Mixing Wellbutrin (Bupropion) And Alcohol — Interactions And Side Effects

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Wellbutrin and other antidepressant medications can be a vital tool for someone battling depression or anxiety. However, as with all drugs, Wellbutrin has certain side effects that can be dangerous if mixed with alcohol. Many medications interact negatively with alcohol, which is why so many drugs have 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, otherwise known as winter depression, and to help people quit smoking.

Wellbutrin treats depression differently than other antidepressant medications, as it’s classified as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). Doctors prescribe NDRIs for those who haven’t responded well to other antidepressant medications or 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

Can You Mix Wellbutrin And Alcohol?

Because alcohol is primarily 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 essential to understand how alcohol can interact with your medicine.

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
  • Dizzy spells
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

Side Effects of Wellbutrin

Any time doctor prescribes a medication, they should explain the risks of the medicine. 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, while others have difficulty 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
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Vomiting or an upset stomach
  • Changes in weight
  • Sore throat

Severe Side Effects of Wellbutrin

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 how it will interact with alcohol, ask your doctor and be honest about the amount you drink.

Medically Supervised Detox Programs for Alcohol Use

Alcohol is often used to mask or self-medicate the symptoms of depression. However, mixing alcohol with an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin can be extremely dangerous. Additionally, regularly mixing alcohol with any medication can indicate alcohol use and addiction.

Over 20 million Americans struggle with substance use, 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., including 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, it may begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the signs of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaking hands and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

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

Treatment for Alcohol Use and Addiction

For detox to be 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 a temporary living space for patients to begin their recovery. Considered the highest level of care, inpatient treatment provides a safe and structured environment. Patients can practice sober living skills in a supportive atmosphere. In addition, therapies 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 allows patients to 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) – IOPs provide the most flexible scheduling options for alcohol addiction treatment, as they are usually offered with morning or evening sessions. IOPs will give many of the same treatments as other alcohol rehab facilities. However, they 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 use and addiction, reach out to one of our specialists today.