ClickCease Wellbutrin Withdrawal: Signs, Timeline & Detox Process | Granite Recovery Centers

Wellbutrin Withdrawal: Signs, Timeline & Detox Process

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: September 22nd, 2021

James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Wellbutrin, or bupropion, is a widely-used antidepressant that has helped many people combat their depression over the last few decades. It is also used to aid in the cessation of smoking. This medication, like all antidepressants, has a lot of potential benefits. However, it does not work for everyone.

If you use Wellbutrin for a period of time and decide you want to stop, there are some factors to take into consideration before doing so. This post will provide you with a clearer understanding of how Wellbutrin withdrawal can feel and how long it can last.



In the United States, antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed drugs. Some people use them for a couple of weeks or months, and others use them for years. Approximately one out of every four adults has been prescribed an antidepressant at least once in their lifetime, and some use them for over 10 years or more. Many people take antidepressants permanently when they discover one that works for them. This is especially true if the antidepressant has few to no side effects.

Antidepressants are a unique drug class in that not every drug works on everybody. It may require many attempts for certain people to find a drug that works for them. You may even decide to avoid taking Wellbutrin because you’re feeling stable and happy to go without it. Other reasons for quitting include success in quitting smoking.


Signs and Symptoms

When people stop taking Wellbutrin, they rarely develop side effects. The severity of the symptoms varies from mild to severe in those who do. Your symptoms could be more potent if you stop Wellbutrin and a more popular class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

Wellbutrin is often used as part of an “antidepressant cocktail” by many individuals. Wellbutrin has been shown in studies to enhance the effects of other antidepressants. It’s often prescribed in combination with SSRIs by doctors.

Certain neurotransmitters in the brain are affected by antidepressants. Neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers in the body. They aid nerve cell communication and are involved in all of the body’s complex processes, such as feeding and sleeping. They affect your feelings and moods as well.

The majority of modern antidepressants work by affecting a neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to keep the mood in check. While the precise causes of depression are unclear, low serotonin levels are thought to play a role.

SSRIs, such as Prozac and Lexapro, boost serotonin levels. It can be a total shock to the system if you miss taking these medications suddenly. It is normal to feel withdrawal symptoms as the body responds to lower serotonin levels.

Since serotonin is used in so many different body processes, withdrawal symptoms can become very disparate. If you are discontinuing an SSRI, you may experience the following:

  • Sweating: During the summer, you can get flushed and sweat excessively.
  • Digestive issues: People often feel nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a lack of appetite due to serotonin’s role in the digestive system.
  • Sleeping problems: You can have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also have strange visions or nightmares.
  • Tremors, restless muscles, numbness and difficulty walking are some of the neurological side effects.
  • Mood swings, agitation, fear, mania or depression are also possible psychological signs.
  • Brain zaps: This is an unusual occurrence that sounds like a jolt to the head. It’s also known as a shiver or a brain shake.

Since it affects the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline, Wellbutrin differs from most antidepressants. You are unlikely to develop any of the serotonin-related symptoms mentioned above unless you are already withdrawing from an SSRI.

In the biomedical literature, there are just a few reports of Wellbutrin withdrawal. Irritability, however, is a frequent symptom, according to Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, author of The Antidepressant Solution. Patients quitting Wellbutrin, according to Glenmullen, are akin to those quitting cigars. Withdrawal may involve uncharacteristically offensive, disrespectful or threatening actions as well as a state of intense agitation.

If you used Wellbutrin to quit smoking, it’s likely that after you stop taking it, your nicotine cravings will return. Fortunately, these cravings can be mild in comparison to what you’ve previously encountered.


Coping and Relief

If you have a psychiatric condition such as dissociative symptoms, it’s crucial to contact your psychiatrist or nurse whenever your prescriptions are changed. Seeing a doctor will help you deal with issues like mood swings, agitation and hopelessness.

If you’re using Wellbutrin to help you stop smoking, make sure to have a nicotine patch or gum on hand. This will help alleviate any nicotine cravings you might have and any agitation that comes with them.



While Wellbutrin isn’t usually associated with withdrawal symptoms, it does come with a severe FDA alert about its link to suicidal ideation in kids, teenagers and young adults, as do all antidepressants. When changing your dosage, you should take extra care.

Suicidal thoughts and emotions are most frequent in children and young adults under the age of 24, but they can hit anyone. If you are having any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Suicidal or self-destructive thoughts
  • Thoughts about how you can commit suicide
  • Unusual excitement or severe restlessness
  • Actions without considering the consequences
  • Extreme agitation or concern
  • Anxiety disorders

Suicidal thoughts and actions are uncommon although they do occur in some individuals. Before you quit taking Wellbutrin, talk to the doctor about the risks and benefits. If you wish to avoid taking your medication, a quick taper might be a better option than quitting cold turkey.


Granite Recovery Centers

Certified doctors deliver evidence-based clinical psychotherapies at Granite Recovery Centers, which are tightly woven into a comprehensive 12-step curriculum led by qualified facilitators.

Our trained clinicians use evidence-based interventions to assist in battling addiction issues and help our patients process complex and stressful issues related to their drug use. When used in combination with our formal 12-step method, psychological therapies can help patients recover.


Extended Care

Our four extended care centers offer clients who prefer or need more structured help and counseling while cementing sober values and encouraging early rehabilitation for a fulfilling life. For patients who have already finished a therapeutic primary treatment program, extended care is a “step down” level of the procedure. It encourages people to use the resources they learned in therapy to prepare for their eventual independent lives.


Intensive Outpatient Drug Rehab Program, or IOP

Outpatient rehabilitation is often the final stage of treatment, and these programs are associated with full societal reintegration. Clients who live in one of our extended care facilities and attend IOP at a local hospital can also receive intensive rehabilitation treatment as part of our comprehensive care services. Outpatient clinics have varying levels of treatment and programming. IOP clients are also expected to attend medical, holistic and 12-step classes for at least 10 hours a week.


Detox and Withdrawal

Granite Recovery Centers drug and alcohol treatment facilities have onsite detox services where you can be carefully monitored when suffering from withdrawal. 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. Talk with the rehab staff before beginning inpatient drug rehab to see if adequately supervised detox is recommended for you.


Holistic Therapies

Holistic treatments help unify the mind, body and soul. Body-centric approaches such as yoga, meditation and fitness are examples of mind-calming, body improvement and mental pivoting techniques. Our progressive approaches complement our 12-step drug and alcohol care model, aiding patients in overcoming physical and mental imbalances and recovering through mindfulness and self-acceptance.


Sober Living

Our four sober living homes are tranquil environments that offer a safe, loving, structured and clean environment to clients in early recovery. In the rehab spectrum, sober living is customarily supplemented by extended therapy although certain people would choose to skip primary inpatient treatment and go directly to sober living. Sober living serves as a temporary buffer for clients who are starting school or a new job and navigating the “real world.” In independence-focused sober homes, clients can better fulfill their obligations, learn life skills and live sober values.


Long-Term Treatment

Slowly tapering off antidepressant dosage is the best way to stop taking them. Tapering schedules for Wellbutrin usually are very short. It would be best if you made a plan with your doctor to reduce the dosage throughout one to two weeks gradually.

Following your Wellbutrin taper, any long-term therapy would focus on the disease that caused you to start taking Wellbutrin in the first place. If you’re depressed, your doctor might recommend switching to an SSRI you’ve never tried before or suggesting other alternatives. It might take a few tries to find the proper treatment or medication blend.

Keep in mind that there isn’t a single pill that can “cure” you. Depression is a complicated illness that necessitates a multifaceted recovery strategy. On its own, medicine can only do so much. Psychotherapy may be an integral part of depression treatment.

According to scientific evidence, a mixture of psychotherapy and medicine is more effective for depression and anxiety than drug treatment alone.

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a long-term method to learn more about yourself. You’ll look at why you do things the way you do and feel the way you do. You will learn how to move toward the life you deserve with a trained therapist’s help by reforming the dysfunctional habits that hold you down.


A Word from Granite Recovery Centers

Depression is a complex illness to overcome. It can feel as if you’re trapped in a long, dark tunnel with no way out, but don’t let the feeling get the best of you. Keep going, and don’t give in when you run into walls or fall. Experienced mental health professionals and addiction specialists at Granite Recovery Centers can help you find way to a happier and healthier life.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.