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What is It Like Drinking Alcohol on Wellbutrin?

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Graphic showing risks of mixing alcohol with Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant drug that can be extremely beneficial for individuals battling seasonal affective disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other anxiety disorders. 

However, Wellbutrin, like many other drugs, has serious side effects when used with alcohol. Many medicines interact negatively with alcohol, which is why many drugs have clear warnings not to mix with alcohol. 

When Wellbutrin and alcohol are mixed together, people risk experiencing nausea, vomiting, seizures, impairment, and other health issues. If you did combine Wellbutrin and alcohol, you should seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.

What Is Wellbutrin (bupropion)?

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a common prescription medication used to treat depression and anxiety and to help people quit smoking.

Since Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), it treats depression differently than other antidepressant medications. Doctors prescribe NDRIs to those patients who have not responded well to other antidepressants or experienced adverse effects, including weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

Some common brand names of bupropion include:

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

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Wellbutrin

Although alcohol is socially accepted, its overuse can be dangerous. Anyone who regularly takes prescription medication has to understand how the drug interacts with alcohol. Wellbutrin with alcohol interaction may result in severe side effects. This is because both the drug and alcohol inhibit the neurological system, which might have fatal effects on your health.

Some people have an occasional drink with little to no ill effects, but it can be dangerous to take Wellbutrin and a lot of alcohol at the same time. This combination amplifies the risks of alcohol poisoning, blurred vision, memory loss, mood swings, and exhaustion. 

Most people don’t mix alcohol and Wellbutrin to get high; it’s just that they don’t want to give up alcohol entirely while taking medication to manage their depression. Even if it might not seem like a big deal, you run the chance of experiencing many physical and mental health issues.

Dizziness

Alcohol is a depressant of the neurological system and has similar effects as Wellbutrin. Alone, alcohol causes some level of tiredness. When you mix alcohol with Wellbutrin, these substances inhibit the functioning of the central nervous system, resulting in dizziness and fatigue.

Thus, you will begin to lose attention at work or while driving, which might compromise your and others’ safety. Additionally, these substances impact your coordination, increasing the risk of injury. Those who take both alcohol and Wellbutrin are at a greater risk of falling due to dizziness and impaired coordination.

Depression

If you are using Wellbutrin for the treatment of depression, mixing it with alcohol may affect your recovery. Although a small quantity of alcohol might enhance your mood, combining it with Wellbutrin can make you feel much worse than you did before.

The combination of the two substances affects your brain chemistry, disrupts sleeping patterns, and obstructs your ability to see helpful solutions to your issues. You may also begin to experience negative emotions and unwanted memories, such as anger. In such a state, you may be tempted to drink more to feel better, but doing so will only trigger a depressive state.

In fact, nearly one-third of patients with severe depression also have alcohol problems. This depressed condition interferes with your regular functioning to the point that you are unable to carry out daily activities as required. In severe cases, it might cause suicidal thoughts. Approximately 40 percent of people receiving treatment for alcohol dependence have tried suicide at least once in their life.

Increased Risk of Overdose and Alcohol Addiction

When alcohol is used with Wellbutrin, the effects of both substances are amplified. Your body can only digest a certain amount of antidepressants at a time, so when you consume both substances, your system only processes a small amount of each. Slow processing time increases the likelihood of adverse effects and the risk of Wellbutrin overdose.

An overdose of Wellbutrin is dangerous since it affects the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. You may get to experience symptoms such as hallucinations, coma, tremors, anxiety, and seizures. Consuming alcohol while taking Wellbutrin reduces the effectiveness of the medication and affects recovery.

In addition, the drug reduces your alcohol tolerance. You will become intoxicated faster than normal, even after consuming a small amount of alcohol. Due to the lower processing time, the alcohol in your system accumulates to a higher level than usual. It consequently increases the risks of alcohol addiction.

Continued alcohol use in such a state increase the chances of developing an alcohol use disorder. Because the combination affects judgment, users are less likely to take the drugs with caution, which increases the risk of overdose and misuse. In extreme cases, it can even be fatal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Heavy drinkers should not abruptly stop drinking. The excessive amount of alcohol in your body excites and irritates your nervous system to the point that your system cannot rapidly adjust to alcohol withdrawal. It is a potentially life-threatening medical condition if left untreated. Going through the alcohol withdrawal phase while on Wellbutrin will increase your seizure risk. 

Discuss your drinking habits honestly with your doctor in order to reduce the severity of Wellbutrin’s negative effects. Let them know the sort of alcoholic drinks you consume, the quantity you consume, as well as how long you have been drinking. A medical doctor will direct you through the necessary treatment to manage your condition.

Increased Risk of Seizures

Mixing alcohol with Wellbutrin increases the risk of developing a seizure. People with other underlying conditions are at even higher risk. When these two substances interact, they have a negative effect on brain function and may cause seizures. If you or someone you care about is addicted to alcohol, you should enroll in a detox program at a rehabilitation center like The Haven Detox.

What If I Have Already Had a Drink?

Keep in mind that combining alcohol and Wellbutrin does not ensure that any of the above-mentioned side effects will occur, but it does raise the likelihood that they will. 

Observe yourself over the next twenty-four hours for signs such as depression, disorientation, poor motor skills, and cognitive impairment. Additionally, keep an eye out for shaking or tremors, as these may indicate an impending seizure.

If you experience any of the following severe symptoms, visit the nearest emergency facility immediately:

  • Extreme changes in mood or behavior
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Severe shaking or seizuring
  • Significantly worse symptoms of depression
  • Irregular heartbeat

Treatments

There are many effective medical treatment options available to get out of the dangerous side effects of Wellbutrin and alcohol, including medical detox and rehab services.

Medically Supervised Detox

Alcohol is often used to mask or treat the symptoms of depression. However, combining alcohol with antidepressants like Wellbutrin can be dangerous. Additionally, drinking alcohol with any prescription on a regular basis might imply alcohol use and addiction.

Over 20 million Americans are dealing with substance use, and over half of them also have a co-occurring condition, such as depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome. If you or someone you care about is taking Wellbutrin with alcohol or exhibiting other signs of alcoholism, you are not alone.

There are various drug and alcohol addiction treatment program options available. The Haven Detox offers specialized care for dual diagnosis, medication-assisted treatment, and medically supervised detox services.

When you regularly drink large quantities of alcohol, your body might become dependent on the substance, requiring a certain of the drug to function correctly. If your body does not receive the same amount of substance, you may begin to exhibit signs of alcohol withdrawal.

Some of the common signs of alcohol withdrawal include:

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

Due to the potentially lethal nature of some of these withdrawal symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can be complicated. Therefore, it should always be performed under medical supervision. A medically supervised detoxification program enables the patient to safely complete withdrawal and begin further treatment. Typically, medical detox treatments will consist of encouragement, medication-assisted treatment, and assistance in determining a suitable treatment plan.

Inpatient Treatment

For inpatient treatment, the rehabilitation center provides living space for the patient to help them achieve long-lasting recovery. At The Haven Detox, alcoholics in recovery get intensive, round-the-clock monitoring and proper medical care. In addition, patients are assisted in developing skills that will enable them to abstain from alcohol.

Those with a high alcohol tolerance, where quitting might cause severe health complications, require inpatient treatment. The goal is to assist patients in experiencing sober life in a safe and encouraging environment. During treatment, you will also participate in individual therapies, 12-step support group meetings, and psychotherapy sessions with a counselor.

Support Groups

Support groups such as SMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are available to anybody struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). They are peer-led organizations committed to helping patients in staying sober. They can be the initial step toward recovery or a part of a comprehensive aftercare program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do they tell you not to drink alcohol while on Wellbutrin?

It is recommended not to drink alcohol while taking Wellbutrin since alcohol might worsen depressive symptoms and lessen the medication’s efficacy. Combining alcohol and Wellbutrin can significantly increase the chance of seizures and other severe side effects.

Can I drink coffee while taking Wellbutrin?

There is currently no evidence that suggests that combining Wellbutrin with coffee is harmful. In other words, mixing Wellbutrin and coffee is okay (unless your doctor recommends otherwise). However, this does not always imply that bupropion and caffeine should always be mixed.

For example, if you are sensitive to coffee, you may encounter side effects that indirectly worsen depression symptoms, which is not ideal if you are using Wellbutrin to treat depression. The side effects of caffeine can include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems

Can you drink alcohol while on antidepressants?

Combining antidepressants and alcohol is not recommended. It may worsen your symptoms. If you mix antidepressants with alcohol, you may feel more anxious or depressed. Because many patients are unwilling to abstain from alcohol entirely, it is important to combine alcohol and antidepressants in the safest manner possible. Some doctors let patients consume alcohol in moderation. This means one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Get Specialized Care at The Haven Detox

Alcohol should be avoided when taking Wellbutrin. In certain cases, abruptly stopping drinking while taking Wellbutrin might have severe effects. If you believe that this practice is causing you health problems, professional medical help is available.

If you or a loved one faces alcoholism or are consuming alcohol while taking Wellbutrin, consider getting professional help at The Haven Detox for the risks. We offer a number of treatment programs for alcoholism, such as detox, inpatient treatment, and dual diagnosis, that help people begin their recovery journey.

Contact us at (844) 933-4145 to get in touch with our healthcare providers to get professional medical assistance.