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The Dangers of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

May 13, 2024

Table of Contents

Article at a Glance

  • Mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol can increase the risk of severe side effects, including seizures, heightened depression, and impaired motor control
  • Consuming alcohol while on Wellbutrin can also reduce the medication's effectiveness, leading to worsened symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Medical professionals advise avoiding alcohol during Wellbutrin treatment due to these risks and potential complications, emphasizing the importance of following guidance for safe use

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a mental health prescription drug used to help treat issues like depression or seasonal affective disorder.

While Wellbutrin can be an incredibly helpful medicine for those struggling with their mental health, mixing this medication with alcohol causes side effects that range in severity from mild to deadly.

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Read on to learn more about the risks and side effects of mixing wellbutrin and alcohol.

If you or a loved one are engaging in chronic alcohol use while on Wellbutrin, call our confidential substance abuse hotline at 866.330.9449 for help.

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Can You Mix Wellbutrin and Alcohol?

Mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol is not recommended because of potentially life-threatening side effects.

The interaction between these substances negatively impacts the CNS and increases the effects of each substance. A Wellbutrin and alcohol interaction may require immediate medical intervention, and it may also reduce the mood-stabilizing benefits of bupropion. 

If you or a loved one have mixed Wellbutrin with alcohol and are experiencing concerning symptoms, call 911 immediately for help.

Effects of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Side effects of mixing alcohol and Wellbutrin include:

  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood instability
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Joint pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Overdose
  • Liver stress
  • Seizures 
  • & more

Both Wellbutrin and alcohol affect your CNS in different ways. Wellbutrin enhances the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, while alcohol acts as a CNS depressant, disrupting neurotransmitter levels and leading to confusion. 

Alcohol can undermine the antidepressant effects of Wellbutrin, potentially worsening existing depression and even inducing symptoms of anxiety. 

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Can You Use Wellbutrin to Quit Drinking?

Wellbutrin (also known as Bupropion) is also marketed under the brand name Zyban, which is commonly prescribed to help people quit smoking. This medication targets depressive symptoms and can be used regardless of whether or not a person has depression. Zyban works by reducing tobacco cravings and alleviating nicotine withdrawal symptoms, although it does not contain nicotine itself. 

While some studies show that Wellbutrin may mitigate the cravings associated with alcohol withdrawal, do not attempt to self-medicate or mix the two.

Consult your doctor about using medication-assisted treatment to combat alcohol addiction. Prescribed under the supervision of a medical professional in a clinical setting, using medications to help aid in alcohol withdrawals can be incredibly helpful.

Using Wellbutrin to quit drinking is considered off-label use, though, meaning that it’s not FDA-approved for this specific purpose. 

Like all medications, Wellbutrin is most effective when combined with other forms of treatment, including therapy and support groups. This comprehensive approach addresses the psychological and social aspects of alcohol dependence.

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Get Treatment for Alcohol & Drug Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

If you need help addressing Wellbutrin and alcohol addiction, reach out to Renaissance Recovery today. 

Our customized treatment plans will help you or your loved one overcome both prescription drug abuse and alcohol addiction simultaneously, with tailored programming designed specifically for your unique needs.

We offer comprehensive levels of treatment through our detox partners and outpatient programming, ensuring that you can connect easily with treatment at an appropriate level of care.

Our premier treatment programs include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Motivational therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • One-to-one counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic treatments
  • Aftercare planning

 Address issues of alcohol and prescription drug addiction at Renaissance by calling 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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