Does Wellbutrin cause emotional blunting? (5+ solutions)

In this article, we will discuss whether Wellbutrin causes emotional blunting. Furthermore, we will talk about what the research suggests, what emotional side effects are associated with Wellbutrin, and their management strategies while taking Wellbutrin. 

Does Wellbutrin cause emotional blunting?

Wellbutrin may cause emotional blunting when used for depression. Emotional blunting is a condition in which individuals with depression do not respond normally, like healthy people, to feelings of sadness, joy, fear, or anger. In some cases, it may also be a symptom of depression itself. 

Many patients who take antidepressants may experience emotional blunting as an adverse effect of these drugs. Antidepressants help patients treat their depression but can also make them feel emotionally unresponsive, which can affect their social lives (1).

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. Wellbutrin primarily regulates dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. Wellbutrin also has a mild effect on nicotinic and serotonin receptors, which are related to mood, sleep, stress response, and other brain functions (2).

What does research suggest?

According to research studies, Wellbutrin may cause emotional blunting, but it is not a common side effect. Other antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which affect the levels of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain, are commonly known to cause emotional blunting.

Several research studies examined the effect of antidepressants on a patient’s ability to feel emotions. Some patients think that antidepressants can make them feel less emotional, but it is not proven.

A clinical study used data from three trials with people who had depression. They found that emotional unresponsiveness might be a symptom of depression rather than a side effect of the antidepressant drugs.

These studies were conducted during short-term treatment; however, long-term studies should be done to confirm this emotional side effect of Wellbutrin (3,4). In another research study, Wellbutrin was evaluated for affecting the connections between brain regions.

In depressed patients, these brain connections are not regulated, which might lead to unusual thoughts and emotional numbness. However, research has found that Wellbutrin increases the connectivity between various regions of the brain, making it an effective antidepressant.

These results suggest that Wellbutrin might not make patients emotionally unresponsive, which is a common side effect of some antidepressants (SSRIs) (5). Another research study indicated that patients with depression, when given Wellbutrin, had improvements in their emotional issues.

When these patients continued taking Wellbutrin for 6 weeks, they behaved normally, like healthy people. These results are important for treating different aspects of depression, including emotional problems (6). 

What emotional side effects are associated with Wellbutrin?

The emotional side effects associated with Wellbutrin may include:

What to do if Wellbutrin-induced emotional side effects persist?

If you experience Wellbutrin-induced emotional side effects and they are getting worse, you should not take it lightly. It is important to inform your healthcare provider, as they will take appropriate measures to manage your current condition.

These emotional side effects may also occur due to other psychotic illnesses, rather than an adverse effect of Wellbutrin. Do not stop taking Wellbutrin or any other antidepressant, without consulting your doctor, as antidepressants have the potential to cause withdrawal symptoms.

It should only be discontinued under the supervision of a medical professional. Your doctor may gradually taper it off over a few weeks or months and switch you to another antidepressant which is appropriate for you according to your specific needs. However, it is important to note that not everyone taking Wellbutrin will experience these emotional side effects (8). 

How to manage emotions while taking Wellbutrin?

To effectively manage your emotions while taking Wellbutrin, it is advisable to consult with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend some management strategies, as follows:

  • Your doctor may make adjustments to your Wellbutrin dosage and closely monitor you for potential side effects. 
  • You should be patient and let Wellbutrin work, as antidepressants may take a few weeks to show their full therapeutic benefit. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may also help some patients to manage their emotions. 
  • You should practice stress-reduction activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga that will keep you calm and relaxed. 
  • Get enough sleep, as a lack of sleep can negatively affect your mood and emotional well-being. 
  • Avoid alcohol as it can worsen the side effects of Wellbutrin (7). 


Wellbutrin may cause emotional blunting when used for depression. Emotional blunting may also be a symptom of the underlying depressive disorder. Although Wellbutrin has emotional side effects, you should consult your doctor if you experience such side effects. Your doctor may adjust the dose, monitor side effects, and suggest management strategies to help emotions. 

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Ma H, Cai M, Wang H. Emotional Blunting in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Brief Non-systematic Review of Current Research. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 14;12:792960. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.792960. PMID: 34970173; PMCID: PMC8712545. Available from: 

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