Wellbutrin anxiety: What’s the connection?

Wellbutrin anxiety: What’s the connection?

Bupropion, often known as Wellbutrin, is a drug used to treat mood disorders such as depression and seasonal affective disorder. However, Wellbutrin is also used to treat a variety of other disorders, including smoking cessation, ADHD, and anxiety. 

In this article, we will discuss Wellbutrin anxiety, including its definition, causes, pairing, and treatment options.

Wellbutrin works by preventing the body from reabsorbing the hormones noradrenaline and dopamine, allowing them to remain present and available for a longer period of time. 

This is significant in the treatment of mood disorders since noradrenaline is related to feelings of euphoria and enhanced energy, whereas dopamine increases mood, motivation, and excitement. 

Wellbutrin is administered orally as an immediate-release or extended-release tablet. Aplenzin and Forfivo XL are two other bupropion brand names you may have heard of.

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication that has several on- and off-label uses. You may also see it referred to by its generic name, bupropion.

Medications can affect people in different ways. As such, Wellbutrin has been linked to anxiety in some cases. But while it can cause anxiety in some people, it is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders in others.

Doctors may prescribe Wellbutin to treat depression or help someone quit smoking. But you may experience anxiety and other symptoms shortly after starting it, especially if the dose is increased too quickly. 

Does Wellbutrin cause anxiety?

Shortly after beginning wellbutrin anxiety, some people may have symptoms such as:

  • anxiety
  • feeling restless
  • agitation
  • excitement
  • being unable to sleep (insomnia)
  • shaking

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sometimes these symptoms were serious enough to require treatment with sedative or anti-anxiety medication during clinical trials.

Additionally, about 2 percent of people stopped treatment with Wellbutrin due to these anxiety-related symptoms.

These types of side effects may be due to the dosage of Wellbutrin being increased too quickly. If you’re experiencing anxiety-like symptoms or jitters after starting Wellbutrin, discuss them with your doctor. 

Will Wellbutrin help anxiety?

It may seem counterintuitive since anxiety is a potential side effect, but there are limited data on the use of Wellbutrin to treat anxiety disorders.

One older pilot studyTrusted Source did find that bupropion XL was comparable to escitalopram (an SSRI, another type of antidepressant) in treating people with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

While this may suggest that Wellbutrin could possibly be a second or third-line treatment option for GAD, larger, more extensive trials are required to confirm this.

There’s also some evidence that bupropion may help treat panic disorder. One case study found that bupropion at a dose of 150 milligrams daily improved panic and anxiety symptoms in an individual with panic disorder.

Anecdotal evidence also supports the use of bupropion in addition to other medications to treat panic disorder. However, like the GAD pilot study, further research is needed to determine whether bupropion is effective in treating panic disorder.

Wellbutrin as an anti-anxiety treatment

While Wellbutrin is typically used in the treatment of depression, research tells us that it can help to reduce anxiety.

One study, in particular, found that bupropion significantly improved anxiety scores in patients. These results were similar to those seen in comparison groups given sertraline (Zoloft), an antidepressant commonly used in the treatment of anxiety. 

More recent clinical data has found that bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an appropriate treatment option for depressed patients with comorbid anxiety. This is because bupropion has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression-related anxiety. Further studies have also concluded that bupropion can have significant anti-anxiety effects in patients with clinical depression. 

More research evaluating the use of Wellbutrin for specific anxiety disorders (an off-label use) is needed to understand its Wellbutrin anxiety-reducing potential. 

However, there is a pilot control study that has shown promise. The study compared the effectiveness of bupropion to escitalopram, an SSRI used to treat depression and anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. The study found that bupropion demonstrated well-tolerated anxiety-reducing results similar to the anxiety treatment provided by escitalopram. 

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Myths about Wellbutrin

While very rare, other antidepressants, like escitalopram and citalopram, have been shown to have a higher seizure risk. 

Myth: Wellbutrin will give you insomnia

Wellbutrin can cause insomnia as a side effect, and it’s important to understand this when evaluating your treatment options. However, many antidepressants can cause insomnia, and the risk is typically no higher with Wellbutrin than with most other antidepressants. 

While there are misconceptions about the risks of taking Wellbutrin, it is essential that you understand the potential side effects and how they compare to other antidepressant medications. 

All the possible side effects that you expect from taking Wellbutrin are: Some of the common side effects are :

  • Headache
  • Weightloss
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating 
  • Ear ringing

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What to pair with Wellbutrin anxiety?

If you and your doctor decide that Wellbutrin is the appropriate prescription drug for your specific situation, you may suffer some anxiety.

If your anxiety symptoms interfere with your daily functioning, speak with your healthcare professional about their anxiety-relieving recommendations.

Natural Wellbutrin anxiety treatments, like regular exercise, mindfulness and meditation, and psychotherapy, can also help you manage Wellbutrin-related anxiety. If your anxiety is severe, your doctor may suggest switching to a different type of medicine.

A doctor may prescribe both Wellbutrin plus an SSRI or SNRI medicine in some instances.

For severe anxiety or panic attacks caused by Wellbutrin, you may be given a short-acting anti-anxiety medicine such as benzodiazepine or hydroxyzine (Visteril). 

But because these drugs have a higher risk of side effects, and because benzodiazepines are habit-forming, they are not good long-term options. Your doctor may prefer to manage your anxiety with a different medication option instead.

It’s important to follow your provider’s instructions if you do take Wellbutrin. For example, alcohol should not be mixed with Wellbutrin because it can increase Wellbutrin’s side effects and make depression worse. 

Certain prescription medications or supplements may also interact with Wellbutrin, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider for medical advice before starting anything new.


Wellbutrin anxiety isn’t normally seen as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, although for some people, it might have an effect on anxiety symptoms. Discussing the pros and downsides of Wellbutrin with your doctor in detail is essential if you’re thinking about taking it to treat your anxiety.

 You should also look into alternative treatments that might be more effective.


Wellbutrin, also known by its generic name Bupropion, is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as aminoketones. It is primarily prescribed to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In some cases, it may also be used to help people quit smoking or to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The exact mechanism of action of Wellbutrin is not fully understood. It is believed to work by affecting the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. By increasing the availability of these neurotransmitters, Wellbutrin helps to regulate mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.
The response to Wellbutrin can vary from person to person. Some individuals may start to notice an improvement in their anxiety symptoms within a few weeks of starting the medication. However, it may take several weeks to experience the full therapeutic effects.

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