Wellbutrin is a vital antidepressant medication for people battling anxiety or depression. Doctors also prescribe the drug to treat bipolar disorder or to help in smoking cessation. Medical experts consider the drug safe only when used as prescribed and when not mixed with alcohol or other medication not approved by your doctor. Just like any other antidepressant, taking Wellbutrin together with alcohol will increase the risk of uncommon side effects.
According to a report by the FDA, mixing alcohol with Wellbutrin can cause adverse neuropsychiatric events. If you are already used to excessive alcohol intake, it’s a good idea that you speak with your doctor first before taking this drug. Sudden withdrawal from alcohol could also increase seizure risks. Read on to know more about alcohol and Wellbutrin interactions.
Common Wellbutrin Side Effects
Wellbutrin is quite different from other forms of antidepressants. In most cases, only those who fail to respond well to other treatment forms use this drug. Wellbutrin is an excellent alternative for people who suffer sexual dysfunction or weight gain after taking other antidepressants. In case you need to use this medication, your doctor should inform you of the risks involved.
Remember that all medications will present some form of uncertainty. However, whenever a doctor prescribes Wellbutrin, it means that they have already assessed and determined that the expected benefits outweigh the side effects risks involved. Some patients who take Wellbutrin may experience no or minor side effects whereas others will find it challenging to adjust the dosage. You should always keep your doctor informed if you face any of the following side effects after taking the drug:
- Sore throat
- Dry mouth
- Changes in weight
- Stomach upset
- Excessive sweating
- Frequent urination
- Troubled sleep
Severe Side Effects
Sometimes, Wellbutrin can result in some very harmful side effects. If you or your loved one experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Joint pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Panic attacks
- Mental confusion
Dangers of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol
Although alcohol is socially acceptable, it can be perilous when misused. Any person who takes prescription medicine regularly must understand how the drug interacts with alcohol. Mixing Wellbutrin with alcohol can cause adverse side effects. This is because both the drug and alcohol work by suppressing the nervous system, resulting in potentially deadly effects on your health.
Some people can occasionally drink with minimal effects, but if you consume a lot of alcohol and at the same time take Wellbutrin, it can be hazardous. This combination increases the risks of alcohol poisoning, blurry vision, memory impairments, mood swings, and fatigue. Most people don’t combine alcohol and Wellbutrin in an attempt to get high; it’s just that they don’t want to completely abstain from alcohol while using a drug to treat their depressive condition. While it might not seem like a big deal, you risk experiencing the many effects.
Alcohol is a nervous system depressant, and it produces similar effects to Wellbutrin. On its own, alcohol causes some level of sleepiness. When mixed with the drug, the substances suppress your nervous system’s functioning, causing more dizziness and increased fatigue.
You will thus begin to lose concentration at work or while driving, which could affect your safety and that of others. The substances also affect your coordination, increasing the risk of injuries. People who take both alcohol and Wellbutrin are more likely to suffer from falling due to lightheadedness and impaired coordination.
If you are currently taking Wellbutrin to treat depression, mixing it with alcohol can affect your recovery. Although a tiny amount of alcohol can improve your mood, when you consume too much combined with Wellbutrin, it will make you feel worse than you previously did.
A combination of the two substances alters your brain chemistry, interferes with sleep, and clouds your brain, limiting your ability to see helpful solutions to your problems. You may also begin to experience some negative emotions like anger or unwanted memories. In such a state, you might feel tempted to drink more to feel better, but this will only trigger a feeling of depression.
In fact, nearly a third of people suffering from significant depression issues have alcohol problems. This depressive state disrupts your normal functioning to the extent that you can’t handle your daily activities as required. In extreme cases, it leads to suicidal thoughts. About 40% of patients who receive treatment for alcohol dependence have attempted suicide at least once in their lives.
Increased Risk of Wellbutrin Overdose and Alcohol Addiction
When you take alcohol together with Wellbutrin, the substances increase each other’s effects. Your body can only process a specific amount of antidepressants at a time, and when you consume both products, your system processes a tiny amount of each at a time. The slow processing time thus leads to increased Wellbutrin side effects and the risk of overdose.
Wellbutrin overdose is hazardous since it affects the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems. You could begin to experience symptoms like hallucination, coma, tremors, agitation, and deadly seizures. Drinking alcohol while still taking Wellbutrin counteracts the benefits of the drug and also affects your recovery.
Additionally, the drug reduces your alcohol tolerance level. You will start getting intoxicated faster than usual, even after drinking a little amount. Due to the lower processing time, the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream accumulates to levels higher than usual. It, therefore, increases the risk of alcohol over dependence and addiction.
If you keep drinking alcohol in such a state, it increases the risk of alcohol use disorder. The combination impairs judgment, so users are less likely to be careful with using the two substances, which increases the chances of overdose and abuse. In extreme cases, it can even cause death.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
As mentioned above, heavy drinkers shouldn’t abruptly stop taking alcohol. Note that the excess alcohol in your body excites and irritates your nervous system to the point that your system can’t quickly adapt to a lack of alcohol. When neglected, it can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Going through alcohol withdrawal while at the same time taking Wellbutrin will only increase seizure risks. It also causes other symptoms like:
- Severe shaking
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Talk to your doctor honestly about your drinking habits to minimize severe Wellbutrin side effects. Let them know the kind of alcoholic drinks you use, the quantity you drink daily, weekly, and monthly as well as how long you have been consuming. A doctor will guide you through the proper treatment needed to manage your situation.
Taking Wellbutrin with alcohol increases your chances of having a seizure. The risk is even higher for people with other underlying conditions, those with eating disorders, and those who take higher doses. When the two substances interact, they affect your brain functioning, potentially causing seizures. If you or your loved one is dependent on alcohol, you should enroll in a detox program in a rehab facility like Granite Recovery Center.
You will receive a wide range of treatment options to aid in recovery. At our facility, you will likely undergo a medically assisted detox and dual diagnosis treatment. When you are addicted to alcohol, your body becomes dependent on the substance to the extent that you can’t function normally without alcohol. The detox program’s main aim is to allow you to safely get through the withdrawal stage when you fail to receive the substance to prepare you for further treatment.
Medical detox at Granite Recovery Center involves encouragement from compassionate staff, medication-assisted treatment and clinically proven therapies. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency. Your doctor can advise you whether to consider an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization program at the facility.
For inpatient treatment, the rehab facility provides living space for the patient to help him or her achieve recovery. At Granite Recovery Center, individuals recovering from alcohol addiction receive intensive, 24-hour monitored support. The treatment also involves assisting patients to develop skills that will help them stay away from alcohol.
Those who have high alcohol tolerance, where stopping could cause serious physical problems, require inpatient treatment. The goal is to help patients practice sober living in a safe and supportive environment. During the session, you will also undergo individual therapies, attend a 12-step support group and undergo psychotherapy sessions with a counselor.
Patients whose alcohol addiction isn’t so severe can opt for an outpatient treatment program. This option gives you more flexibility since you stay at home and only come to the rehab center at specific times for treatment. You will still have to undergo detoxification, and you might have to go through regular alcohol screening.
Even after completing the inpatient treatment program, it’s a good idea that you continue with outpatient treatment to gain total freedom from alcohol addiction. You will have to attend about three meetings each week. For successful outpatient treatment, you must be very consistent with your sessions to help you maintain sobriety.
Partial Hospitalization Program
If you have a great support system at home and need an alternative to inpatient treatment, consider partial hospitalization. You engage in intensive treatment programs during the day, and you can return home at the end of the session. For this treatment, you will visit the rehab center for five days each week for about six hours per session.
In this treatment program, you will receive addiction education and group therapies that allow you to interact with other people going through the same condition to share ideas that will contribute to your recovery. It also involves family therapy sessions to help your family members provide you with the necessary support during the recovery period. You will have individual therapy with your counselor as well to address issues that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing in a group setting.
What to Do When You Take Wellbutrin After Taking Alcohol
If you are currently using Wellbutrin and have had alcohol, don’t panic; you can still get help. Taking alcohol and your drug doesn’t automatically mean that you will experience the side effects, but it does increase the risk. The intensity of the impact will also vary from one person to another. Watch out for worsening drug side effects, especially confusion and disorientation. If you notice signs of a tremor, it’s an indication of an impending seizure, so you need to get medical assistance immediately.
An overdose of Wellbutrin can be fatal. If you or your loved ones start experiencing muscle stiffness, hallucinations, shallow breathing, uneven heartbeat, or fainting, these are severe signs of a drug overdose. You should thus seek emergency medical attention.
After treatment, you should continue taking your medication. Ensure that you follow the prescription. Your doctor may choose to change the dose based on your requirements.
Seeking the Help You Need
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t consume alcohol while taking Wellbutrin. If you are a heavy drinker or if you have alcohol dependency, speak to your doctor before taking an antidepressant. Depending on your health, alcohol use and other conditions, your doctor may decide to prescribe a different medication or advise on lifestyle changes before taking Wellbutrin.
While some people might still be okay with a bit of alcohol while taking Wellbutrin, there is no specific way to determine how your body will react to the substances. The surest bet is to abstain from alcohol. If you do drink, limit your consumption, monitor yourself for any potentially dangerous side effects, and seek help immediately if you notice adverse effects. Also, let your doctor know how much alcohol you typically consume.
If you develop an alcohol addiction while using Wellbutrin, seek assistance as soon as possible in a rehabilitation facility like Granite Recovery Center. Our staff aims at improving the quality of life for people suffering from addictions or substance abuse. Together with your doctor, you will work out a treatment program to help you refrain from alcohol use and avoid related side effects. With professional care and medical detoxification, you can be free from alcohol and can take your Wellbutrin medication with minimal side effects.