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Problems with Wellbutrin WD and now reinstatement


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Starting my 4th week of WD and then reinstatement hell from Wellbutrin.


I normally take 300mg Wellbutrin per day (all at once in the morning). I’ve taken it since 2012 for very mild, high-functioning depression. I’ve gone up and down on the dose over the years with no discernible issues, but all of 2020 I was on 300mg steady. Around the holidays last December I accidentally missed 2 days of pills, so I went back on the med at 150mg. Did that for 2 months. Then I did a week of alternating 150mg & 300mg doses to ramp back up. The next week I went back to my normal 300mg dose. No issues at all to this point!! 

Fast forward a week to March 9 when I’m leaving for a 2 week work trip. I decided I jumped the gun on ramping up, and the morning I leave, I go back down to 150mg.


That is when everything fell apart and hasn’t been the same since. Crushing waves of depression and anxiety, lasting most of the whole day, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my entire life. Heart pounding, sweaty and clammy, short of breath, crawling out of my skin. Nothing but feelings of doom and sadness and desperation. Not proportional to my actual reality.


For the entire 2 week trip, I could barely leave my hotel room. On March 12, a couple days in, I saw an urgent care doctor, who suggested that I was messing with my Wellbutrin dose too much. It honestly hadn’t even occurred to me that it could be the Wellbutrin, since I had gone up and down in the past with no problems. Anyway she told me to stay on 150mg Wellbutrin and add in 2.5mg buspar for the first week, 5mg for the second week. It helped the first couple days then boom it was all just back.


March 25 I came back in town. The symptoms were getting even worse at this point. I only see my prescribing psychiatrist 1x per year, and when I went to call him, his receptionist told me he left town and no one knows where he went. No joke! I’m waiting to get into a new one, but I saw my family doctor in the meantime. She had me go off the buspar completely that day, and go back up to 300mg Wellbutrin in the morning.


It’s only gotten worse since then though! Granted it’s only been 5 days of reinstatement, but the acute anxiety and depression is literally all day. I can’t watch Tv, talk to my husband, listen to music or cuddle with my puppies. It is the most terrifying feeling. It’s nearly unbearable.

Since reinstatement, I seem to feel a little better at nighttime, around 8pm. At that time I can see that I am capable of feeling completely “normal” again. So the new pattern is that exactly 1 hour after taking my Wellbutrin in the morning, the anxiety starts. I know anxiety can be a side effect of Wellbutrin, but again I never had anxiety from it in the past so it seems weird.


Bottom line. I am WAY too scared to keep messing with the dose since that is likely (maybe?) what caused the problem in the first place. So I’m staying on 300mg. The main thing I’m wondering though is if I should try to split the dose tomorrow? 150mg in the morning, 150mg at night. But good God is that going to send my CNS into another tailspin? Should I stick with the 300mg all at once in the morning, although it may be causing extra distress?

I’ve tried taking magnesium and fish oil, drinking lavender essential oil, exercising, 5-HTP and L-Theanine and they don’t seem to help. Benadryl 50mg can calm me down but again I just don’t want to overload my system so I haven’t taken that since Friday night. I have no one to talk to about this so any help is appreciated.

2012: prescribed 150mg Wellbutrin for mild high-functioning depression, & 5mg alprazolam as needed for social anxiety. 

2013-2016: increased to 300mg Wellbutrin, and eventually 425mg daily. [Only took the Alprazolam periodically, usually 1 or 2x per wk as needed].

Fall 2016: weaned off the meds entirely. Mild depression symptoms came back; went back on Wellbutrin, slowly building back up to 300mg.

Fall 2016-March 2020: long alternating periods between 150mg and 300mg Wellbutrin with a taper week in between. Never noticed an issue when going back and forth. [Took the alprazolam significantly less in this period, maybe 2x per month]

2020: 300mg Wellbutrin. [Didn’t take my Alprazolam except maybe 1 or 2x all year.] 
Late Dec 2020 to Mid-Feb 2021: started back on 150mg Wellbutrin after accidentally missing 1 or 2 doses around the holidays.
Mid-Feb to March 8: ramp back up to 300mg Wellbutrin with a week of alternating doses in between.
March 9 to March 25: straight to 150mg Wellbutrin. Wd symptoms start that first night March 9
March 26-today: 300mg Wellbutrin once daily in the morning. No relief but early still.

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