Does Wellbutrin cause skin-picking? (8+ recommendations)

This article will briefly discuss the question, “Does Wellbutrin cause skin-picking?”. We will also provide insights and recommendations for this particular condition.

Does Wellbutrin cause skin-picking?

No, Wellbutrin does not cause skin-picking. 

There is no direct evidence to suggest that Wellbutrin (Bupropion) causes skin-picking as a side effect. However, some individuals may experience changes in behavior or new compulsive behaviors while taking Wellbutrin.

Patients must consult their healthcare providers if they notice any unusual changes in their behavior while on Wellbutrin.

The relationship between Wellbutrin and skin-picking

Skin-picking, medically known as dermatillomania or excoriation disorder, is an illness characterized by repetitive, compulsive picking of the skin, often leading to skin damage and scarring. It is considered a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) and is often associated with underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (2).

While Wellbutrin is not typically associated with directly causing skin-picking, the broader context of its use is central to reflection. Wellbutrin is often prescribed to individuals with depression or other mood disorders, and these conditions can be linked to skin-picking behaviors (1).

In some cases, individuals may experience increased anxiety or restlessness as side effects of Wellbutrin, which could indirectly exacerbate skin-picking tendencies. Some individuals may experience no adverse effects related to skin-picking, while others might find that their existing BFRB symptoms worsen during treatment (1, 2).

It’s essential to communicate openly with your healthcare provider if you notice any concerning changes in your behavior.

Managing skin-picking while on Wellbutrin

If you are taking Wellbutrin (Bupropion) and struggling with skin-picking, here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Open Communication: Discuss your concerns with your prescribing healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms and suggest appropriate adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Consider seeking therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has shown effectiveness in treating skin-picking disorders. CBT can help you identify triggers and develop coping strategies (2, 5).
  • Support Groups: Joining a support group for individuals with BFRBs can provide you with valuable insights and a sense of community. Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others can be beneficial (5).
  • Stress Management: Engage in stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, to help manage the anxiety and stress that can contribute to skin-picking.
  • Skin Care Routine: Establish a skincare routine that can help minimize the impact of skin-picking. Keep your skin clean, use soothing products, and consult a dermatologist for advice on minimizing scars.

The relationship between skin-picking and psychotic disorders

Skin-picking behavior can profoundly affect one’s life, leading to distress and diminished quality of life. Understanding the causes, available treatment options, and associated conditions can significantly support managing this condition.

Therefore, skin-picking symptoms can sometimes be indicative of underlying medical or psychological conditions. In some cases, individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder, or trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) may exhibit skin-picking behaviors as part of their broader symptomatology (3).

Accurate diagnosis and assessment by a healthcare professional are essential to address any underlying conditions that may be contributing to skin-picking.

It is imperative to recognize that various factors can contribute to the onset or exacerbation of skin-picking tendencies, including but not limited to (2, 3):

Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and emotional distress can significantly influence skin-picking behaviors.

Environmental Triggers: Environmental factors such as boredom, the presence of specific triggers, or certain activities can prompt individuals to engage in skin-picking.

Co-occurring Conditions: Skin-picking can be associated with other psychological conditions like anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

Treatment options for skin-picking disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT has shown promising results in treating skin-picking disorders. This therapeutic approach focuses on identifying and altering thought patterns and behaviors associated with skin-picking. By recognizing triggers and learning coping mechanisms, patients can effectively manage and reduce the frequency of skin-picking episodes (5).

Habit-Reversal Training (HRT)

HRT aims to help patients become more aware of their skin-picking behaviors. Through strategies like muscle relaxation, awareness training, and competing responses, individuals can learn to recognize the urges and redirect their behavior. Consistent practice of these techniques can lead to a significant reduction in skin-picking habits (5).

Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction

Techniques Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help individuals manage stress and reduce the urge to pick the skin. These techniques promote self-awareness and relaxation, providing patients with effective tools to cope with the emotional triggers that contribute to their skin-picking behaviors.

Pharmacological treatment of skin-picking

In addition to therapy, some drug treatments have shown promise in managing skin-picking disorders. These may include:

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – NAC is a supplement that has demonstrated potential in reducing skin-picking symptoms. It works by influencing glutamate and dopamine levels in the brain, which are associated with compulsive behaviors. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating NAC into your treatment plan.

SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) – SSRIs, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), are commonly prescribed for individuals with skin-picking disorders who also have co-occurring anxiety or depression. These medications can help alleviate these underlying conditions, potentially reducing the urge to pick.

Antipsychotic Medications – In some cases, atypical antipsychotic medications like aripiprazole (Abilify) may be considered, especially if the skin-picking is associated with severe anxiety or impulse control issues. With the right guidance and support, individuals can successfully manage their skin-picking disorder and improve their overall well-being (5).

If you suspect you have a skin-picking disorder or related condition, don’t hesitate to seek help from a qualified healthcare provider as soon as possible.


In summary, Wellbutrin itself is not a direct cause of skin-picking, but can indirectly influence this behavior. The relationship between Wellbutrin and skin-picking varies from person to person, highlighting the importance of individualized treatment plans.

While no direct causative relationship between Wellbutrin and skin-picking has been established, individuals should remain vigilant and communicate any concerns or changes in behavior to their healthcare providers.

Understanding the multifaceted nature of skin-picking is essential, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive treatment plans that address underlying psychological factors.

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U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2011). Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hydrochloride) Tablets, for Oral Use. Available from:


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Lochner C, Roos A, Stein DJ. Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder: a systematic review of treatment options. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017 Jul 14;13:1867-1872. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S121138. PMID: 28761349; PMCID: PMC5522672. Available from:


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