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Is Wellbutrin Addictive?

Is Wellbutrin addictive?

In my experience, it’s not.

This is a short testimony of my experience with the frequently prescribed drug known as Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is prescribed for various reasons, from depression and smoking cessation to anxiety. It can even be used as a performance enhancer for men who struggle with ED. It wasn’t until my first experience staying in a treatment center back in 2010 where not only would I hear about Wellbutrin XL, but I would also be prescribed it for the first time. 

I told my Dr. that I was dealing with severe depression and had had negative experiences with the typical go-to antidepressants due to the awful side effects.

(Side Note: never ever EVER stop taking an antidepressant of ANY SORT unless you are ready for the worst pain and discomfort imaginable. What’s even worse is having permanent brain damage as a result of just stopping an antidepressant without tapering down.)

Before I talk about my experience with Wellbutrin, I would just like to go over a bit of the science of what makes this particular type of medication so effective. By effective, I mean that it is good at doing many of the different things it is prescribed for. 

Wellbutrin Isn’t Addictive — But It IS Effective

Wellbutrin (also known as Bupropion) is an antidepressant that stands out amongst the rest. By that I mean that it acts as a Norepinephrine-Dopamine reuptake inhibitor instead of the typical SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Lexapro, or Celexa.

When I was first prescribed this medication, almost 10 years ago now, I was also chemically dependent on nicotine. This medication can not only help with depression—or help with unwanted sexual side effects as a result of the side effects of other antidepressants or medications—but it can also dramatically help with nicotine cravings as a result of discontinuing nicotine use.

The first few days I was on 300 mg of Wellbutrin XL (the extended-release version), I found it extremely difficult to sleep. Apparently, this is common considering this type of medication can kind of be an “upper,” especially in the first month or two of being on it. 

Aside from not being able to sleep well, I was able to quit smoking relatively easily, and without the common mental/emotional symptoms that come along with quitting nicotine (whatever form it comes in).

How Wellbutrin Works | No Withdrawals from Wellbutrin

Since that time, I have been on and off of that medication over the last decade. It helps more with seasonal depression for me than anything else, especially during the 4.5 years I lived in Salt Lake City. If you’ve visited or lived in Salt Lake during the wintertime, you know then exactly what I mean when I say “seasonal depression.” 

I have struggled with chemical dependency off and on throughout my adult life, giving me a pretty good idea of what might make a medication addicting. There was a time I went into UNI in Salt Lake, which is one of the most reputable hospitals in the United States for treating addiction and/or mental health issues.

I had been on Wellbutrin XL for almost 2 years, and the doctor wanted me off of it while I went through the detox phase from other medications I had been abusing. She said it would be safe for me to just discontinue Wellbutrin cold turkey, especially while being in the hospital. I mentioned it has a stimulating effect, which would have made the detox process 10 times more miserable. 

Anything I have found to be addicting has always been accompanied with withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the substance, and I can say that there were absolutely zero negative symptoms upon quitting Wellbutrin, aside from maybe needing more sleep than usual.

If you get on any online forum that talks about substances that are frequently abused by people who are either in jail or in prison, you will find Wellbutrin on the list. I’m not even gonna lie: upon finding this out years ago, I personally tried to abuse Wellbutrin in the fashion talked about on the interweb.

And yes, that means that I took than the 300 milligrams that I was prescribed.

I didn’t experience any sort of “high” or “euphoria.” I kinda just felt like I drank half a pot of good coffee.

I guess when you’re an addict who has been locked up for a while, you will take pretty much anything out of desperation. 

That could have been me at various times in my life, and I’m grateful I am writing this as a free man. 

Wellbutrin Is Not Addictive

If you’re prescribed this particular medication, it’s quite possible that your experience with Wellbutrin has been much different than mine.

I found the medication helpful in treating depression and other issues, and besides that, there have been no reasons for me personally that would indicate this medication is addictive and/or has any potential for abuse. 

Hopefully, this helps anyone who is either thinking about getting on this medication or getting off of it. 

Knowing that I personally am not a medical professional, please make sure to follow instructions that have been given to you by someone who is a doctor or a licensed medical professional. 

Have you had personal experience with Wellbutrin that’s different from mine. Share your story in the comments.

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1 year ago

Have you ever heard of the supplement called DL-Phenylalanine It’s supposed to work with Wellbutrin as well as build your brain after substance abuse. I’ll find more specifics but it renews your damaged receptors. I started it a few weeks ago and I can feel a huge difference

Adam Fout
1 year ago
Reply to  Jewels

I haven’t, but I’d really like to hear more about it! Can you share the details here?


Ryan Henderson

Ryan Henderson is a magician and mental health advocate.

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