Wellbutrin is an FDA-approved antidepressant that treats depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Under the brand name Zyban, the drug reduces nicotine cravings and eases withdrawal symptoms to help people quit smoking.
It’s an oral medicine that balances neurotransmitter levels in the brain to boost the user’s mood and overall mental health. When taken in high doses, Wellbutrin produces effects similar to those of recreational drugs like cocaine. For this reason, some people abuse the drug leading to an addiction.
Causes of Wellbutrin Addiction
According to a CDC report, 13.2% of people aged 18 and above uses antidepressants. Most doctors will advise their patients to take the drug for about six months or until the depressive symptoms are gone. However, some users may choose to continue using the medicine to enjoy the effects even after the prescribed period. Others will choose to take the medication in increased dosage or at closer intervals to get high. Over time, they end up becoming dependent on the medication.
Wellbutrin increases the concentration of dopamine in the brain, which improves mood and suppresses depression symptoms. Hence, most people abuse the drug in an attempt to hasten the mood boost effect. Others choose to use the drug for recreational purposes. The manufacturer recommends that users swallow the medicine whole.
On the contrary, some users chew the pill or crush and snort the powder. Others dissolve the drug in water and inject it into the body. When you swallow the pills whole, they will have to go through the digestive tract, which reduces the speed at which it reaches the bloodstream, minimizing the effects. If you snort or inject the drug, you introduce it directly into the bloodstream. Due to the high level of the drug in your body, you risk becoming addicted and suffering an overdose.
Signs of Wellbutrin Addiction
Always be on the lookout for drug abuse signs if you or your loved ones take Wellbutrin. The addiction risk is even higher for people who heavily drink alcohol or those with a history of drug abuse. Even people who don’t intend to abuse the drug may become addicted when they use it for too long.
Note that many cocaine users will go for Wellbutrin when they can’t get access to enough cocaine. This is because the prescription drug is easy to obtain and also a cheaper alternative. The medication produces a similar stimulant effect to that of cocaine but at a lower intensity.
After abusing the drug, some people begin to show signs of elevated mood. They become more talkative than usual, and they show signs of increased energy and activity. If someone is addicted to Wellbutrin, they will have trouble sleeping and stay awake for long hours. Others will show a sudden increase in self-esteem. It also leads to loss of appetite and euphoria.
When someone becomes addicted, they begin to seek prescriptions from several doctors. Others will try sourcing the drug from illegal websites and store them in unlabeled containers. Wellbutrin addiction could also lead to loss of family, friendships, and other relationships. Such people begin to enjoy more time alone, taking the drug and enjoying the effects. As a result, most of them are highly likely to neglect family responsibilities.
Addiction can also make you lose your job or perform poorly at school. The drug won’t let you concentrate on schoolwork or your career as you used to. As the urge to use the drug grows, it creates a continuous need for the medication, so most people spend all their money acquiring it. Other common symptoms of Wellbutrin addiction include:
- Muscle pain
- Decreased sex drive
Watch out for such signs, and seek medical help as soon as possible. Note that, if a person becomes so addicted to the drug, such that they consume it at a higher dose, it could lead to cardiovascular collapse, which causes death. Though death-related cases due to Wellbutrin abuse are limited, there are still 0.5% reported cases of death due to an overdose.
Wellbutrin Addiction Treatment
Understanding Wellbutrin addiction symptoms paves the way for users to seek treatment. Note that you should never attempt quitting the drug without medical assistance since it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. When you abruptly stop taking the medication, you might begin to experience:
- Extreme agitation
- Suicidal thoughts
- Excessive sweating
The symptoms will vary based on the level of addiction. To avoid such issues, it’s a good idea that you seek help from a rehab facility like Granite Recovery Centers. In such institutions, you will interact with specialists who will help treat the addiction and address any underlying issue that could trigger drug abuse. Wellbutrin treatment process may involve the following.
At Granite Recovery Centers, you will undergo a safe medical detox program to eliminate toxins in your body. Keep in mind that every patient’s detox need is unique. The doctor begins by first conducting a thorough examination to assess the drug level in the blood and determine the amount of medication needed for detox. You may also need to undergo a dual diagnosis to help understand whether various mental issues have noticeable impacts on the addiction.
The specialists can administer other medications to stabilize the patient and minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms. The doctor will also inform you what the detox process entails in preparation for treatment. After detoxing, you will continue with therapy to help you cope with the situation. You can enroll in some of the following treatment programs.
For patients with high Wellbutrin addiction levels, you might need to consider the inpatient treatment program. You live within the rehab center for close monitoring and intensive care within the facility. This treatment plan allows you to work on your recovery away from the outside world’s everyday temptations. Granite Recovery Center provides a supportive environment where addicts receive the skills and insights needed to stay away from drugs and lead a sober life.
The treatment length will vary from one patient to another. You will need around three to 10 days for detox, followed by 30 to 90 days of therapy sessions. Patients should follow a specific schedule that includes physical exercises, study, and individual and group psychotherapy sessions during this period. The main goal here is to help patients understand the triggers and causes of their addiction and adopt new approaches to help them remain substance-free throughout the treatment and beyond.
Within the facility, you will interact with other people struggling with the same issue as you. You can share insights and work together towards recovery. Based on your progress and ability to meet goals, your doctor will decide when you are free to move to a less intensive treatment program.
If your addiction level isn’t extremely severe, the doctor may advise you to opt for an outpatient program. For this option, you stay at home and only come to the rehab facility for treatment several days a week based on the scheduled appointments. Patients are likely to achieve long-lasting sobriety through an outpatient treatment plan just like the inpatient one.
Note that the path of recovery from drug addiction can be very challenging. In case you finish the inpatient treatment but you still feel that you need professional support and counseling, enroll in an outpatient treatment program. A specialist will guide you on how to transition from the rehab facility into everyday life safely.
The treatment involves holistic and individual therapies, skills-building sessions, and a 12-step rehab program. During the sessions, you will discuss with your therapist to identify the addiction problem’s root cause. You will then learn some behavioral modification techniques that will help you refrain from drug misuse.
For this option, you can go to work or attend school as you work on recovery. Since you have more freedom, you might need to undergo regular screening to ensure credibility. Note that drug addiction treatment is a continuous process, and you will only succeed if you consistently honor your outpatient treatment appointments.
Partial Hospitalization Program
If you still need intensive care to treat Wellbutrin addiction but don’t wish to stay within the facility, you can opt for the partial hospitalization program. This option works well for patients with great support from their family members. Instead of residing within the rehab facility, you come in for treatment sessions several hours a day and head home later.
Most times, the treatment runs for five days each week. Together with your therapist, you will develop a personalized plan to guide you through recovery. You still have access to group therapy, where you can communicate and share opinions with others. If you have issues that you feel uncomfortable sharing in a group, you will hold face-to-face meetings with your therapist to address such concerns.
If you are struggling with Wellbutrin addiction and other mental health conditions, you will receive medication to help you cope with the situation. A psychiatrist will guide you on how to manage the drugs better to avoid misuse. Note that drug addiction also affects people around the patient. During the partial hospitalization program, you will undergo family therapy sessions to teach your loved ones how to better cope with your condition. They will also learn how to offer you better support to speed recovery.
Sober Living Homes
Most patients find it hard to adjust to their daily lives after leaving the rehab center. Once you complete the inpatient treatment, you can choose to reside in sober living homes for a while till you fully recover. These are houses designated for people struggling with addiction. Although you might not get the same care level as in an inpatient facility, a sober living home environment promotes healthy coping skills and habits.
You will live along with other people who share similar experiences and goals, which helps reduce loneliness, an inherent part of the addiction cycle. When using the drug, you may have cut out friends or withdrew from family members due to the fear of judgment or rejection. In sober living homes, you will create better relationships, so you have someone to confide in if you face difficulties during recovery.
When someone becomes addicted to drugs, they might disengage from basic skills more often than not. In sober living homes, you will try to regain various skills like exercising, eating healthy, cleaning, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You have a chance to apply for jobs, and because you are living in shared spaces, you will learn some financial and social skills.
Also, these homes offer more independence and control over the recovery process, giving patients a more positive feeling towards the treatment. You have a chance to do all the things you enjoy, provided that you make responsible choices.
You will still undergo regular and random drug testing to ensure complete abstinence. Besides the peer-to-peer support, the rehab center will offer therapy sessions as well. You can reach out to your doctor for advice if need be. This is the last part of Wellbutrin addiction treatment, and it promotes lifelong sobriety.
Consuming high Wellbutrin dosage can change how your body functions making it hard to stay away from the drug. With time, you might become addicted and begin to abuse the drug. Note that overcoming any form of drug addiction requires multiple episodes of treatment. If you or your family member struggles with Wellbutrin or any other substance addiction, you can seek help from us at Granite Recovery Centers. Our facilities aim to provide patients with a smooth transition into a purposeful, independent, and drug-free life.
After treatment, your specialist will advise you on the best care program that provides the proper support. Our rehab center even has an alumni program that allows the patients to keep in touch, maintain friendships and strengthen their recovery. With the appropriate treatment, professional therapies, and aftercare programs, soon, you will regain freedom from Wellbutrin addiction.