Does Wellbutrin cause a lack of motivation? (3 tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether Wellbutrin causes a lack of motivation. We will also discuss some research studies and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Wellbutrin cause a lack of motivation?

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) can cause a lack of motivation. However, this is a rare side effect and the incidence is low. 

Lack of motivation itself is a common early symptom of depression and many people actually feel better on antidepressants. However, medications that work on your brain can affect people differently and antidepressants can cause a lack of motivation in some people. 

This side effect is commonly seen in long-term users. Antidepressants can sometimes eliminate the natural element of anxiety that is beneficial for you. This makes people not feel happy, sad or motivated to do anything.

Some people may take it as a lack of motivation and some may call it a lack of emotion. wellbutrin generally takes some time to work, but it can effectively counteract your symptoms once it starts working.

Wellbutrin primarily works by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, leading to increased levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain. This helps in regulating mood and also aids in smoking cessation (1).

What does research suggest?

There is limited research indicating a lack of motivation caused by Wellbutrin. However, antidepressants in general can cause a lack of motivation, which is relatively more common in people who are new to Wellbutrin or antidepressants in general or people who have underlying psychological illnesses.

It is important to note that Wellbutrin, being an antidepressant, can also help people with a lack of motivation associated with depression. Wellbutrin is actually one of the best antidepressants for increasing energy and motivation.

One research study has justified the use of Wellbutrin in depressed patients with mood disorders. It indicated that Welbutrin helped in improving behaviours and efficiently treated motivational symptoms in depressed people (2). 

It is quite common for people to lose interest in various aspects of their lives, such as education, health, career, and relationships when they are feeling depressed.

Antidepressants are designed to help alleviate these symptoms by managing depression and anxiety. As a result, some individuals may find themselves feeling more motivated while taking Wellbutrin. However, it is important to note that medications can affect people differently.

Is Wellbutrin-induced lack of motivation reversible?

Wellbutrin-induced lack of motivation can be reversible for some people.  As mentioned earlier, Wellbutrin is designed to help with symptoms of depression, including a lack of motivation or desire to do things.

Some people who are new to this antidepressant may experience this side effect, but it often improves as the body adjusts to the medication. Wellbutrin takes time to start working, but once it does, it can be effective in addressing a lack of motivation or depression in general.

However, in some cases, Wellbutrin may lead to a persistent lack of motivation. It is important to monitor your side effects while taking Wellbutrin and discuss them with your doctor. 

What to do if Wellbutrin causes a lack of motivation?

If Wellbutrin causes a lack of motivation, talk to your healthcare provider. They can make adjustments to your dose if you are new to this antidepressant or if your dose was recently increased.

It is important to be patient when using antidepressants. These medicines need time to work in your body and improve your symptoms. For some people, it may take up to 12 weeks to see results, so be sure to give it enough time.

It is also important to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle like regular exercise, yoga and meditation. Surround yourself with people who care about you and support your recovery.

However, Wellbutrin may not work well for everyone. If this side effect continues to negatively impact your mental health instead of improving it, your doctor will safely switch you to another medication.

Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome

Always remember, do not discontinue the antidepressant on your own as it may lead to discontinuation syndrome characterized by symptoms such as (3):

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache 
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

How to ensure the safe use of Wellbutrin?

Consider the following points to ensure the safe use of Wellbutrin:

  • Always take your medication as guided by your healthcare provider.
  • Do not skip the doses or discontinue the medication without consulting your doctor.
  • Avoid or limit the consumption of alcohol, as it can worsen the side effects.
  • Wellbutrin can cause dizziness or impair your ability to concentrate, so be cautious while driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Always use Wellbutrin with caution in adults under 18 years of age.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider before taking Wellbutrin.

Always remember safe and effective use of medication is necessary for the full therapeutic output.


In this article, we have discussed whether Wellbutrin can cause a lack of motivation. We have also discussed that this side effect can be reversible for some people as their treatment with Wellbutrin continues, but some people may not recover without discontinuing Wellbutrin.



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