Wellbutrin and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination | WRRC

Wellbutrin and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

It’s normal for people to be concerned about a loved one’s or their mental health, and this concern increases with medication and substance use. Thus, it’s essential to know the dangers of mixing Wellbutrin (Bupropion) with alcohol.

When mixed with alcohol, taking Wellbutrin for depression can cause certain drug interactions. Understanding drug interactions could be one of the most underrated life-saving skills. Reading this post about the dangerous combination of Wellbutrin and alcohol could be an excellent way to start.

This post explores the connection between depression and alcoholism. It’s no secret that the two often co-occur so much that one may refer to it as a “dual diagnosis.” But first, it defines some terms and questions why someone might get tempted to take the dangerous combination of Wellbutrin and alcohol.

What Is Wellbutrin and How Does It Work?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive and seasonal affective disorders. It works by increasing the neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with feelings of pleasure.

It’s also sometimes prescribed off-label for other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or bipolar disorder. These mental conditions can have severe consequences if not treated properly.

This antidepressant medication gets patients out of the mental fog associated with depression and can boost their mood, energy levels, and focus. 

While on Wellbutrin prescription, patients need support and guidance from a healthcare provider and family. The side effects of this drug could be unpleasant, and patients may fall into the lure of alcoholism. 

Wellbutrin Side Effects

The first step to abiding by the doctor’s instructions is to understand Wellbutrin’s side effects and its interactions with alcohol.

Wellbutrin can cause side effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Headache/ migraines

These side effects arise because Wellbutrin affects the entire brain and nervous system.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic disorder characterized by an impaired ability to control drinking. People with alcoholism become dependent on alcohol and crave it physically, mentally, and emotionally. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop drinking or go too long without having a drink.

Alcohol is a depressant as it reduces serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which can worsen symptoms of depression or other mood disorders.

Alcohol Side Effects

Drinking alcohol can cause numerous side effects, including:

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment
  • Blackouts

It’s important to note that alcohol affects everyone differently. Some people may be able to drink more than others without feeling the effects, while others may experience symptoms after just one drink.

Alcoholism attracts the long-term side effects of alcohol, such as:

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Depression

People who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder may benefit from attending an alcohol addiction treatment program. These people may want to pay special attention to how their depression impacts their drinking habits.

The Connection Between Depression and Alcoholism

Co-occurrence of depression and alcoholism is so common that it’s been referred to as a “dual diagnosis.”

Many different things, such as stress, trauma, or genetics, can cause depression. In such cases, alcohol abuse may become an attempt to self-medicate or cope with the symptoms of depression.

At the same time, people who suffer from alcoholism may also be more likely to experience depression due to the effects of alcohol on the brain. Self-sabotage during alcoholic indulgence attracts physiological, financial, and social setbacks, leading to depression.

The National Library of Medicine did a survey and reported that depression prevalence among alcohol dependents is at 68%. It implies that people with alcohol dependency are likely or more prone to depression than the general population.

Alcoholics could get caught in a vicious cycle whereby increased drinking leads to depression, elevating the need for more alcohol.

Why Might Someone Drink Alcohol While Taking Wellbutrin?

Taking Wellbutrin requires active guidance and counseling to prepare patients for the roller coaster of effects they’ll experience. The side effects of this antidepressant might be hard to cope with. Also, the antidepressant effects of Wellbutrin can take time and patience.

It’s tempting for people on Wellbutrin to think that alcohol may help them cope with the side effects of this drug and their depression symptoms.

For example, Bob is a college student who is prescribed Wellbutrin to treat his depression. He knows that drinking alcohol is not a good idea, but he also feels like he needs a break from the persistent symptoms of depression.

So Bob decides to have a few drinks while taking Wellbutrin. Smoothing over the side effects of Wellbutrin with alcohol may seem like a quick solution, but it can be dangerous.

Dangers of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Depressants and antidepressants are chemical substances that interact with the central nervous system. Antidepressants affect the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain, triggering a change in mood.

Depressants slow down the central nervous system, leading to feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. GABA and glutamate are two neurotransmitters that are affected by alcohol.

When taken together, Wellbutrin and alcohol can interact dangerously. The depressant effects of alcohol can be intensified while taking Wellbutrin, leading to severe side effects, such as:


This risk can be incredibly high in those with a history of epilepsy.

Slowed Heart Rate

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the heart rate. The combination of Wellbutrin and alcohol can slow the heart rate and disrupt normal functioning.

Lowered Blood Pressure 

Depressants like alcohol can cause blood pressure to drop, making users feel lightheaded or dizzy.

Liver Damage

Drinking alcohol while taking Wellbutrin can increase the risk of liver damage, which can have serious long-term consequences.

Increased Depression Symptoms

Mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol intake can raise the risk of worsening or triggering depressive episodes, locking users into a cycle of deteriorating symptoms.

Help Is Available

Drug abuse poses life and death risks, so it’s time to regain control of life. No one should wait any longer to get help if they or a loved one is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Wellness Retreat Recovery in Santa Cruz County, California, offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs tailored to meet individual patient needs.

Intensive personal therapy, clinical and holistic treatments, and aesthetically pleasing amenities will aid in a successful recovery. 

Contact us today by filling out the form below or calling 888-738-0692.