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Effects of Wellbutrin and Alcohol Use

Effects of Wellbutrin and Alcohol Use

Wellbutrin is a brand name for prescription antidepressant bupropion. Wellbutrin is prescribed to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is sometimes prescribed to help people quit cigarette use under the brand name Zyban. Wellbutrin is an atypical depressant, meaning that it works differently from antidepressants of other drug classes, such as selective serotonin uptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants. But despite these differences, Wellbutrin and alcohol use can also lead to serious side effects.

Wellbutrin Side Effects

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant, meaning it works differently than other antidepressant medications. As a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), Wellbutrin regulates neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain, improving feelings of wellbeing and mitigating symptoms of mental illness. However, like other medications, Wellbutrin use doesn’t come without its risks.

Common side effects of Wellbutrin include:

  • Shakiness and sweating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Unusual fluctuations in weight
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Eye pain
  • Unusual excitement or mania
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach

More serious side effects of bupropion include irregular heartbeat, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations, and seizures. Additionally, while antidepressants aren’t thought to be physically addicting, they can lead to psychological dependence. A person who’s addicted to Wellbutrin may feel the need to abuse it to feel good or “normal.” If you notice that your loved one is misusing their antidepressant, getting them prescription drug addiction treatment should be the next step.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Wellbutrin?

Many people wonder whether you can drink alcohol on Wellbutrin. However, as with most other antidepressants, you cannot drink alcohol with Wellbutrin.

Common Wellbutrin and alcohol side effects include:

  • Severe shaking and tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired motor control and coordination
  • Worsening of depression symptoms
  • Intensified side effects of Wellbutrin
  • Thoughts of suicide


Although rare, seizures are a major concern of Wellbutrin and alcohol use, especially if the individual struggles with drinking and attempts to suddenly quit. Drinking alcohol on Wellbutrin increases the risk of seizures because both substances affect the chemical balance in the brain differently.

Not only can both substances produce a heightened sensation of sedation, their combined influences on chemical release and regulation can also increase the likelihood of abnormal neural communication, which can result in adverse side effects like seizures.

This risk of seizures in a Wellbutrin-alcohol interaction increases significantly when the person suddenly stops drinking after long-term use or if they’re dependent on alcohol. Delirium tremens is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal that can lead to complications like seizures, which is why medical detox is recommended to people who want to quit drinking after long-term alcohol use.

Drowsiness and Dizziness When Mixing Wellbutrin with Alcohol

Alcohol and Wellbutrin can cause drowsiness and dizziness on their own. When combined with antidepressants like Wellbutrin, alcohol can cause more dizziness, drowsiness, and sedation, mainly because both substances have depressant effects on the central nervous system. This increased sensation of fatigue and drowsiness can make it dangerous and even deadly to engage in certain activities, such as driving or working in a job related to public safety.

Depression and Worsening Symptoms

Alcohol and Wellbutrin side effects also include worsening symptoms of depression, which can defeat the purpose of taking the medication. Alcohol’s impact on mental health alone is linked to its effects on chemical balance in the brain, so when combined with medications that also affect chemicals associated with mood like serotonin, the results can be severe and negative.

If you have any questions about mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol and the possible side effects that could occur, speak to your doctor. If you drink regularly and have been prescribed Wellbutrin, be sure to mention your drinking patterns to your doctor so they can come up with the best treatment plan for you.

Help for Substance Abuse

Our Pompano substance abuse treatment center recognizes the dangers of alcohol and antidepressant abuse. Despite the repercussions, many people engage in drug use for many reasons, some to mitigate symptoms of mental illness and others to simply get high. Regardless of one’s reasoning, the result is often the same: addiction.

If you or someone you care about has developed a dependence on alcohol or drugs, our Pompano Beach, Florida drug rehab offers drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs that can help. We incorporate various evidence-based treatment methods to break the bonds of both psychological and physical addiction.

To find out how to get started, call Banyan Treatment Center Pompano today at 888-280-4763.

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.