Wellbutrin (Bupropion) Abuse, Addiction, & Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 22, 2022

Wellbutrin is an effective prescription drug to treat depression, but it can pose serious side effects for those who abuse the drug recreationally. Treatment services for Wellbutrin abuse may include detox, counseling, and mental health services.

Wellbutrin Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Wellbutrin is the brand name for bupropion, a prescription medication used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The majority of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the brain’s serotonin levels. Wellbutrin works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine (NDRI).

When taken at appropriate doses and under a doctor’s supervision, this drug can be useful in the fight against depressive symptoms. At higher doses or after long-term use, addiction may occur.

How Do People Misuse Wellbutrin?

People who misuse Wellbutrin recreationally describe the high as similar to that of amphetamines or crack cocaine. There are several ways people may abuse Wellbutrin.

Snorting Wellbutrin

Some people have been known to crush up and snort Wellbutrin pills so the drug will absorb into the body more quickly than by oral ingestion.

This method of abuse may cause nasal damage and intense headaches.

Learn more about snorting Wellbutrin.

Chewing Wellbutrin

Another method of abuse is chewing Wellbutrin tablets. This may be dangerous and can result in choking or a perforated esophagus from swallowing too many pieces of a broken tablet.

Injecting Wellbutrin

Some people inject Wellbutrin intravenously to achieve a more powerful high. This is accomplished by dissolving it in water and injecting it into a vein or muscle tissue.

Side Effects Of Wellbutrin Abuse

Although Wellbutrin is safe for most people in low doses, larger doses are more likely to cause adverse effects and health complications.

While Wellbutrin is considered to be non-addictive, it can lead to addiction and physical dependency when abused over a long period of time.

Common side effects of Wellbutrin abuse include:

  • seizures
  • weight loss
  • joint pain
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hallucinations
  • constipation
  • irregular heartbeat

In addition to the uncomfortable side effects of misusing Wellbutrin, people may experience euphoria, an increase in self-confidence, insomnia, and loss of appetite while abusing this drug.

Can Wellbutrin Abuse Lead To Overdose?

Overdose may occur when a person takes higher doses of the drug than prescribed by their doctor, or if they mix Wellbutrin with other drugs such as opioids or alcohol.

Symptoms of Wellbutrin overdose may include:

  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • tachycardia
  • tremors
  • dizziness
  • rash
  • irritability
  • risk of seizures

The severity of overdose symptoms will largely depend on the amount of the substance taken. Typically, overdose symptoms occur one to 14 hours after last use. If left untreated, overdose can be fatal.

How Much Wellbutrin Does It Take To Fatally Overdose?

Wellbutrin doesn’t typically lead to fatal overdose on its own, or when used as prescribed. When mixed with other substances of abuse, or taken in very high doses, fatal overdose may occur.

Learn more about what constitutes a lethal dose of Wellbutrin.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Wellbutrin Addiction

If someone who regularly abuses Wellbutrin suddenly stops using the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms due to the way the medication acts on dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain.

Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • irritability
  • depression
  • intense cravings
  • aggressive behavior

While everyone may experience withdrawal in a different way, it’s highly recommended to seek the help of a healthcare provider before attempting to quit Wellbutrin cold turkey.

Treatment Options For Wellbutrin Abuse

Wellbutrin treatment centers will focus on identifying the fundamental causes of addiction as well as changing unhealthy attitudes toward substance use to promote a life of sobriety.

Addiction treatment programs may include:

  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • medically monitored detox
  • dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • support groups
  • psychiatry services
  • mental health treatment
  • outpatient treatment
  • residential treatment

FAQs For Wellbutrin Drug Addiction

The useful information listed below may help answer your questions about Wellbutrin addiction.

The price of Wellbutrin on the street may vary between two dollars per tablet and 90 dollars per tablet, depending on the location and availability of the drug.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not currently scheduled bupropion as a controlled substance.

Attending a detox program for Wellbutrin addiction may not be necessary for everybody, but is highly recommended for people with physical dependence on the drug.

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This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 22, 2022

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