Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Estimated reading time: 32 minute(s)

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues across the world. As disruptive as it can be, there are plenty of medications to keep the symptoms under control and more manageable. One of these most popular antidepressant medications is Wellbutrin, a brand name for bupropion, which works by regulating serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain.

While Wellbutrin is a highly potent medication and has been associated with plenty of benefits, it is not safe to consume alongside alcohol. The combination is particularly dangerous and can damage health in many ways. Unfortunately, alcohol use and abuse remain highly prevalent in depressed individuals, making it critical for them to understand the dangers of combing Wellbutrin and alcohol.

What Happens When You Mix Wellbutrin and Alcohol?

Many people taking antidepressant medications are curious about why are Wellbutrin and alcohol bad when taken together. Despite being a socially acceptable and legal beverage, overusing alcohol is always dangerous. Especially for people on regular prescription medications, it is necessary to understand how these medications will interact with alcohol. In the case of Wellbutrin, alcohol can severely interact with the beverage, leading to severe side effects. These side effects occur before bupropion and alcohol inhibit the neurological system, triggering dangerous effects on health.

While many people successfully get away with an occasional drink while taking Wellbutrin, many others may not be so lucky and end up putting themselves in serious danger. The combination can lead to physical symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, memory loss, and dizziness, and raise the risk of an overdose and poisoning. Mentioned below are some common side effects that you may experience by mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol:


Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant, just like Wellbutrin. Combined, both substances act on the brain to inhibit its functioning, leading to higher fatigue and dizziness. As a result, people who use the combination may start losing attention during school, work, or even activities like driving, which may put them and others in danger. Because the combination impairs coordination, it also puts people at a higher risk of injury, such as falls.


Drinking alcohol while taking Wellbutrin for depression management can affect the recovery process. Even in small doses, alcohol can mess with your mood, and while it may trigger an initial mood enhancement, the long-term effects are poor. Both alcohol and Wellbutrin can alter brain chemistry, cause sleep-related issues, and alter the ability to solve everyday problems. Many people experience unwanted memories and negative emotions, such as anger, more frequently than usual. In such circumstances, many individuals end up drinking even more with the hope of resolving their issues but get stuck in a never-ending loop of side effects.

Read Also About the Dangers Of Mixing Diazepam And Alcohol

With one-third of patients with severe depression indulging in alcohol, the combination will likely disrupt their regular functioning even more. Sometimes, the problems exacerbate to the point that triggers suicidal thoughts in users.

Overdose and Addiction

Combining bupropion and alcohol can amplify the overall effects of both substances. It also overwhelms the system, making it harder and slower for the body to process both substances simultaneously. This slow processing time increases the risk of side effects while putting a user at risk of a Wellbutrin overdose. Overdosing on Wellbutrin can be extremely dangerous as it hits the gut, nervous system, and heart simultaneously. Many people also experience additional symptoms like anxiety, tremors, coma, seizures, and hallucinations. Moreover, alcohol also interacts with Wellbutrin to reduce its efficacy. As a result, many people report experiencing greater episodes of depression following alcohol use.

Wellbutrin also reduces the body’s tolerance to alcohol levels, which means that users are likely to get intoxicated much faster, even after drinking small amounts of alcohol. Because of a slowed processing time, the alcohol levels in the brain also keep accumulating, increasing the risk of alcohol addiction or overdose. Suppose a person continues to combine alcohol with Wellbutrin in such circumstances. In that case, they may develop an alcohol use disorder which can be extremely unpleasant and challenging to recover from.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Many people who have been combining Wellbutrin with alcohol for a long time develop an underlying alcohol use disorder. When addiction sets in, it becomes extremely difficult for them to stop drinking, as quitting alcohol irritates their nervous system to the extent of withdrawal. Withdrawal is a potentially dangerous medical condition that can quickly become life-threatening if not managed properly. Unsupervised alcohol withdrawals can also increase the risk of experiencing seizures. Other symptoms of an alcohol withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Delusions

The severity of the symptoms mentioned above may vary depending on how much alcohol you use and for how long, and the type of alcoholic drink you commonly consume.

A Heightened Risk of Seizures

The risk of seizures significantly increases in a person who combines Wellbutrin with alcohol. When these two substances interact inside the body, they negatively affect the brain function and alter electrical activity. Seizures, especially if recurrent, can cause permanent brain damage and put a person at risk of other complications.

Wellbutrin Side Effects With Alcohol: What If You Already Had a Drink?

Thousands of people continue to use alcohol with their daily Wellbutrin dose without knowing the dangers of combining the two substances. Many of them may get away without experiencing any side effects for a long time before noticing how this blend is damaging their health. If you were among these people who unknowingly used alcohol with Wellbutrin without realizing the risk, remember that the combination does not always lead to the side effects mentioned above.

The best thing to do is monitor yourself for the next 24 hours to see if you experience any side effects, like poor motor skills, disorientation, depression, or cognitive impairment. Additionally, be wary of any shakiness or tremors as they may indicate that a seizure attack is commencing soon. If you do not develop any of these symptoms, hopefully, there is no chance of anything serious happening, and you can continue using Wellbutrin with extra caution in the future.

If at any point you experience any of the following side effects, go to your nearest emergency room immediately:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extreme changes in behavior or mood
  • Significantly worsening symptoms of depression
  • Severe seizures or shakiness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Wellbutrin and Alcohol: How to Stop Using this Dangerous Combination

Most people who cannot quit using alcohol despite understanding the dangers of combining it with Wellbutrin suffer from an underlying alcohol use disorder. For such people, quitting is hard when attempted independently and requires professional help and guidance. This professional help is available at various addiction treatment centers across the country. These treatment centers make use of the following programs to enable individuals to stop using alcohol alongside Wellbutrin for their safety:

Medically Supervised Detox

Many people use alcohol to mask their depressive episodes; however, they are unaware of the dangers this combination may bring them. Combining alcohol with regular prescription medication can be dangerous and easily lead to dependence. Once this dependence sets in, it can be pretty hard to break it without experiencing withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal, characterized by symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and headaches, can be extremely dangerous and may progress to life-threatening issues if not controlled in time.

Hence, many alcohol addiction treatment centers offer such people a chance to enroll in a medically supervised detox program where they can safely stop their alcohol use without putting their life at risk. These programs use medications and therapy to minimize the severity of a withdrawal while providing round-the-clock support and help. Once a person safely goes through a detox, they can transition to an inpatient program for continued support.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient programs have dedicated living spaces where clients live and overcome their substance use addictions. These programs offer round-the-clock monitoring, intensive monitoring, and unlimited support. The care team also helps all residents develop skills that help them resist alcohol cravings while addressing the underlying tolerance and dependence. The underlying goal is to help everyone acquire a sober lifestyle that they can maintain through evidence-based individual, group, and family therapies.

Support Groups

Many alcohol addiction rehabs allow clients to connect with support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery. These peer-led groups are committed to helping people remain sober as a part of a comprehensive aftercare plan once they leave rehab after finishing treatment.


What are some of the most common Wellbutrin side effects?

In most people, Wellbutrin does not typically cause any long-lasting side effects. However, some new users may initially experience the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Rapid pulse

As the body adjusts to Wellbutrin with time, the severity of these symptoms decreases. If not, consider speaking to a doctor.

How long will Wellbutrin stay in my body?

It normally takes four to six days for Wellbutrin to get out of the system. However, the exact time for clearance may vary depending on your age, kidney health, medical history, and any other medications you are taking simultaneously.

Why would someone want to drink while taking Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is a common antidepressant used by people fighting severe depressive symptoms daily. Depression can be a crippling disease that messes with the mood and keeps a person feeling low, demotivated, and tired of life. To escape these feelings, many people eventually resort to using alcohol as a break or a quick getaway. Most antidepressants, like Wellbutrin, take a few weeks before producing any improvements. During this trial phase, many people may attempt to use alcohol to amplify or speed up its action.

How long after stopping Wellbutrin can I drink?

If you have been weaning off Wellbutrin through a proper plan, your body must ideally be free from the drug within five days following the last dose. However, it is imperative to talk to a doctor for more tailored advice or consider avoiding alcohol consumption for a few more days just to be safe. Your doctor may also advise against drinking alcohol, regardless of you stopping Wellbutrin, as alcohol consumption can make depression more severe.

Is there any other antidepressant that I can safely combine with alcohol?

All medical professionals generally advise against alcohol while using any type of antidepressant. This combination is not advised because both alcohol and antidepressant medications inhibit the working of the brain, leading to many side effects. Additionally, alcohol can also interact with antidepressants and reduce their efficacy, leading to the worsening of depressive symptoms. Certain other types of antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, can interact with alcohol to cause a dangerous elevation in blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke. Considering these risks, it is better to completely avoid using alcohol regardless of the type of antidepressant pills you are using.

What else should I not mix with my Wellbutrin dose?

In addition to alcohol, Wellbutrin can interact with over 400 other drugs and substances, such as activated charcoal, to cause dangerous side effects. Hence, to minimize the risk of these negative impacts, talk to your doctor about any medications you are already taking before starting the Wellbutrin course. Ask your doctor for instructions on using Wellbutrin to maximize its efficacy while avoiding side effects or cross-interactions with other drugs.

Get in Touch for Help