Can Wellbutrin Take the Edge Off Anxiety? (+5 Insights)

If you’re grappling with anxiety, you know how it can chip away at the quality of your life. That persistent edginess, the nagging feeling that something is amiss, it can be relentless. In your quest to find relief, you might have heard about Wellbutrin. The question on your mind is, ”Does Wellbutrin take the edge off? In this article, we will investigate whether Wellbutrin (bupropion) can potentially help alleviate anxiety so you can understand whether Wellbutrin can provide the relief you are looking for.

Can Wellbutrin take the edge off anxiety?

Yes, Wellbutrin can help take the edge off anxiety, particularly in cases where individuals are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, by targeting critical neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.

Working closely with your healthcare provider is vital for finding the ideal dosage to manage your symptoms and enhance your overall well-being.

How effective is Wellbutrin in taking the edge off?

While studies indicate that Wellbutrin may help alleviate anxiety symptoms by regulating dopamine and norepinephrine levels, it’s important to note that it’s not typically the primary choice for treating anxiety disorders.

Wellbutrin’s effectiveness is more firmly established for depression management. Nevertheless, research has shown that Wellbutrin can effectively reduce anxiety symptoms, especially in cases where depression and anxiety coexist (1).

Furthermore, studies have indicated that Wellbutrin’s effectiveness in anxiety management is comparable to other commonly used medications (2,3). This suggests that Wellbutrin could be a viable option for individuals with depression and anxiety.

What is the relationship between Wellbutrin and anxiety?

Wellbutrin is primarily used as an antidepressant but can also be prescribed off-label for anxiety treatment, especially when patients do not respond well to the more commonly used SSRIs or SNRIs for anxiety disorders.

As an antidepressant, Wellbutrin (bupropion) indirectly helps manage anxiety by improving mood and reducing depressive symptoms. It achieves this by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels, which may reduce anxiety symptoms.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Wellbutrin for anxiety control?

Considering Wellbutrin as a treatment for anxiety requires weighing its benefits and drawbacks. Understanding its efficacy and potential side effects can help you discuss the most suitable treatment with your doctor.

Benefits of Wellbutrin for anxiety control: 

  • Potential relief from anxiety symptoms: Wellbutrin, although primarily an antidepressant, has shown some effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms, particularly in cases of comorbid depression and anxiety. It may help improve mood and alleviate depressive symptoms, contributing to an overall reduction in anxiety levels.
  • Lower risk of weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and sedation compared to some other antidepressants:  Wellbutrin is known for having a more favourable side effect profile compared to certain other antidepressants. It is less likely to cause issues like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and sedation, which can be significant for some patients.

Drawbacks of Wellbutrin for anxiety control:

  • Possible Side effects such as insomnia and agitation: Some individuals may experience side effects such as insomnia (preventable if avoided at bedtime) and agitation while taking Wellbutrin. These effects can be bothersome and may require careful monitoring and management by a healthcare provider.
  • Potential interactions with other medications: Wellbutrin may interact with certain medicines, affecting its efficacy or leading to adverse effects. Patients should inform their healthcare provider about all the drugs they are taking to ensure the safe and effective use of Wellbutrin in managing their anxiety.

What alternative medications can be used in anxiety management?

When it comes to managing anxiety, the choice of medication can significantly impact the effectiveness of treatment.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are typically the first line of defence against anxiety disorders (6).

This preference stems from the close connection between anxiety disorders and serotonin imbalances, which SSRIs address by blocking serotonin reuptake, increasing its availability in the brain (4). This, in turn, helps stabilise mood, emotions, and anxiety levels.

In contrast, Wellbutrin primarily targets the norepinephrine and dopamine systems, making it more suitable for addressing depression (5).

As serotonin plays a more crucial role in regulating anxiety, SSRIs are often prescribed to manage anxiety symptoms. While SSRIs are the preferred first-line option, if these medications aren’t well tolerated, Wellbutrin may be recommended as an alternative, off-label treatment.

When should you seek professional advice for anxiety treatment with Wellbutrin?

According to the NICE Guidelines, Wellbutrin is not typically the first choice for treating anxiety disorders. Although it can be effective for some individuals, its primary use is to treat depression.

Generally, other medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are preferred for anxiety treatment.

There are several potential reasons why a healthcare provider might choose Wellbutrin over selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

  • Wellbutrin primarily targets the norepinephrine and dopamine systems, which makes it more suitable for certain types of depression or depressive symptoms.
  • Some patients may not tolerate the side effects commonly associated with SSRIs or SNRIs, such as sexual dysfunction or weight gain, and may find Wellbutrin to be a more suitable option.
  • Wellbutrin may benefit individuals who experience fatigue or lack energy, as it can provide a mild stimulant effect due to its impact on dopamine and norepinephrine.
  • Additionally, Wellbutrin may be considered for individuals who struggle with nicotine dependence or want to avoid weight gain.

Ultimately, the choice between these medications depends on the individual’s specific symptoms, medical history, and treatment goals and should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.


In my professional experience, I have observed that Wellbutrin can be a valuable treatment option for managing anxiety symptoms in many patients. While it might cause some side effects initially, these usually improve over time, leading to an overall improvement in well-being.

However, as per the NICE guidelines, prescribing an SSRI would be the first treatment choice after cognitive behavioural therapy.

Wellbutrin may be considered if SSRIs are not tolerated and alternative medication options along the prescription pathway are not suitable for you. Working closely with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress and develop the most effective treatment plan for your condition is essential.

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