Knowing the Causes and Treatments of Wellbutrin and Anxiety

Team Health Cages

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what to pair with wellbutrin for anxiety


In this blog, we learn that Wellbutrin is a medicine used for feeling sad or moody, but it can also help with anxiety. It works by keeping certain hormones in the body longer, which makes us feel happy and full of energy.

Sometimes, a doctor might suggest taking both Wellbutrin and another type of medication called an SSRI or SNRI. If you feel anxious or have panic attacks because of Wellbutrin, the doctor might also give you a quick-acting medicine for anxiety, like a benzodiazepine or hydroxyzine (Vistaril).

In this blog, we discuss these topics:

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is a type of medication called bupropion. It’s usually used to treat mood problems like feeling sad or having mood swings, especially during certain times of the year. But it’s also used for other things like helping people quit smoking, managing ADHD, and easing anxiety.

How Wellbutrin works by stopping the body from taking back certain hormones, like noradrenaline and dopamine, which helps to keep them around longer. These hormones are important because they’re linked to feeling happy, having more energy, and being motivated and excited.

You take Wellbutrin by mouth, usually as a pill that either works right away or releases the medication slowly over time. Other names for bupropion that you might hear about are Aplenzin and Forfivo XL.

Combining what with Wellbutrin to treat anxiety

When pairing medications with Wellbutrin (bupropion) for anxiety, healthcare providers often consider several factors, including the severity of anxiety symptoms, the individual’s medical history, and their response to previous treatments. Here are some options that may be considered:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SSRIs and SNRIs are commonly prescribed antidepressants that can also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Combining Wellbutrin with an SSRI or SNRI may provide complementary effects, targeting different neurotransmitters in the brain. Examples include:
  • SSRIs: Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram).
  • SNRIs: Effexor (venlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine).
  • Buspirone: Buspirone is an anxiolytic medication that works differently from SSRIs and SNRIs. It’s often used to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and can be combined with Wellbutrin to enhance its effectiveness in managing anxiety symptoms.
  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are fast-acting medications that can provide immediate relief from anxiety symptoms. However, they are typically used on a short-term basis due to the risk of tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal. Combining benzodiazepines with Wellbutrin may be considered for short-term relief of severe anxiety symptoms.
  • Atypical Antipsychotics: In some cases, atypical antipsychotic medications may be added to Wellbutrin to augment its effects in treating anxiety, especially if anxiety symptoms are severe or not adequately controlled with other medications. Examples include Abilify (aripiprazole) or Seroquel (quetiapine).
  • Beta-Blockers: Beta-blockers are medications commonly used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions. They can also be prescribed off-label to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety, such as palpitations and trembling. Combining a beta-blocker with Wellbutrin may help manage both the physical and psychological aspects of anxiety.

Wellbutrin as an anti-anxiety treatment

Wellbutrin is usually used to help with depression, but research shows it can also be good for reducing anxiety.

In one study, bupropion, the main ingredient in Wellbutrin, made people’s anxiety better. The results were similar to another medicine called sertraline, which is often used for anxiety.

Recent studies have found that Wellbutrin can be a good option for people who are depressed and also have anxiety. That’s because it can help with the anxiety that comes with depression.

More research is needed to see how well Wellbutrin works for different types of anxiety disorders. However, one small study showed that Wellbutrin was just as good as another medicine called escitalopram for treating a type of anxiety called generalized anxiety disorder.

Signs Wellbutrin is Working

You might be worried if Wellbutrin is helping you after taking it for a few weeks. But it usually takes time, about 2-3 weeks, for Wellbutrin to start working. Sometimes it can take up to 6 weeks or even longer. During this time, your doctor might change your dose a few times to find what works best for you.

How can you tell if Wellbutrin is helping with anxiety? Well, it’s different for everyone. But one way to know is by paying attention to how you feel. If you notice improvements in how you sleep, eat, and energy levels, that could mean it’s working. Also, feeling less nervous and more interested in things are good signs too.

Here’s how you might feel when Wellbutrin is working:

  • Sleeping better
  • Eating more regularly
  • Having more energy
  • Feeling less nervous in certain situations
  • Getting excited about things
  • Concentrating better
  • Remembering things more easily

You might notice improvements in sleep, appetite, and energy in the first 1-2 weeks. But feeling less sad or more interested in activities might take longer, like 6-8 weeks. It’s helpful to keep track of how you feel in a journal to see if Wellbutrin is helping you

How Fast Does Wellbutrin Work for Anxiety?

Wellbutrin starts working pretty quickly, unlike some other medications like SSRIs which can take a month or more. But Wellbutrin isn’t always the best choice for treating anxiety.

When people have anxiety, they often feel a lot of fear and worry for no clear reason, even in normal situations. Wellbutrin is meant to make you more alert and energetic, which might make anxiety worse instead of better.


In conclusion, Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is a medication commonly used to treat mood disorders like depression, and it has shown promise in alleviating symptoms of anxiety as well. It works by affecting certain hormones in the body, such as noradrenaline and dopamine, which are associated with feelings of happiness and energy. When treating anxiety with Wellbutrin, it’s important to consider individual factors and sometimes combine them with other medications like SSRIs, SNRIs, buspirone, benzodiazepines, atypical antipsychotics, or beta-blockers. While Wellbutrin can start working relatively quickly, within a few weeks, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially for those with anxiety disorders characterized by excessive fear and worry. It’s crucial to work closely with a healthcare provider to find the most effective treatment approach tailored to individual needs.


Q1. What anti-anxiety medications work well with Wellbutrin?

A1. If you’re not feeling much better with just one medication, lots of psychiatrists might suggest trying something else alongside it. For example, they might suggest combining sertraline (Zoloft) with bupropion (Wellbutrin). People sometimes call this combination “Welloft.”

Q2. What is a good combination with Wellbutrin?

A2. The information we have shows that even though it’s not officially approved, using bupropion along with either an SSRI or an SNRI is usually okay. It can help make antidepressants work better and lessen the sexual side effects that come with SSRI or SNRI medications.

Q3. When is the best time to take Wellbutrin for anxiety?

A3. When you should take Wellbutrin depends on the type you’re using. If it’s Wellbutrin XL, take it in the morning. But if it’s Wellbutrin IR or Wellbutrin SR, you’ll need to take it two or three times a day. Make sure to wait at least 6 hours between doses for Wellbutrin IR and at least 8 hours between doses for Wellbutrin SR.

Q4. Why is my anxiety so bad on Wellbutrin?

A4. Many people have thought for a long time that drugs like Wellbutrin might make anxiety worse. That’s because they boost a chemical called norepinephrine, which goes up when you’re feeling anxious.

Q5. Has Wellbutrin helped anyone with anxiety?

A5. A study found that bupropion helped patients with their anxiety as much as sertraline, which is another medicine often used for anxiety.

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