Does Wellbutrin make you grumpy? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will explore whether Wellbutrin makes you feel grumpy. In addition to this, how Wellbutrin causes a grumpy mood, the factors affecting your mood and tips to manage a grumpy mood will also be discussed.

Does Wellbutrin make you grumpy?

Yes, Wellbutrin can make you grumpy but it is not a common side effect.  Wellbutrin is a brand name of Bupropion, an antidepressant usually prescribed to treat depression and is also prescribed to treat seasonal affective disorders and to help in smoking cessation (1).

Research and clinical studies have documented a range of potential side effects but they don’t universally indicate that it makes everyone grumpy. Wellbutrin has a considerable list of side effects. Irritability or mood swings can also be observed by the use of Wellbutrin.

However, the impact on mood can vary from person to person. It depends on various factors including the brain chemistry and specific ways in which Wellbutrin affects it.

Grumpy mood, anger issues and irritability are not common side effects of Wellbutrin but these are observed in some patients. However, other antidepressants are more likely to be associated with this side effect as compared to Wellbutrin (2).

How does Wellbutrin make you grumpy?

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) can inhibit the presynaptic uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This causes a boost in the amount of these neurotransmitters (3).  The alterations in dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters can lead an individual to feel agitated and anxious.

These feelings can be interpreted as a grumpy mood which can also lead to anger issues when taking Wellbutrin (4).

Irritability is usually observed at the start of the treatment when the patient has just started taking Wellbutrin. This happens because it takes some time for the body to adjust to this medication. The side effect usually subsides with time as the body gets used to it.

Mood irritability is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain cells although the exact mechanism is not fully understood (5).

What to do if Wellbutrin makes you grumpy?

If a patient taking Wellbutrin experiences a grumpy mood often, the most important step is to inform the healthcare provider so they can critically evaluate the condition and provide you with the best treatment strategies. Irritability is usually experienced by patients with depression taking Wellbutrin.

The healthcare provider may suggest the following :

  • Dosage adjustment
  • Switching medication
  • Cognitive therapy

Dosage Adjustment

Your healthcare provider might suggest lowering the doses or splitting the dose into multiple smaller doses because this can help the body adjust better with minimal side effects. The dose can, later, be increased gradually.

The patient should never alter the dose or discontinue Wellbutrin without proper consultation with the doctor.

Switching Medication

The doctor may suggest switching Wellbutrin with some other antidepressant with a lesser risk of irritability if the side effect of irritability persists. However, the sudden discontinuation is not advised.

Discontinuation of Wellbutrin without tapering the dose can lead to abrupt withdrawal symptoms. Sudden discontinuation of Wellbutrin can also lead to complications as it takes some time to leave the system. The withdrawal symptoms include (6)(7):

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired Memory
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Auditory Hallucinations
  • Insomnia

Cognitive Therapy

Your doctor may also suggest CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or interpersonal therapy. This can be beneficial in conjunction with medication to relieve the irritability. Cognitive therapies have been shown to help with the symptoms of irritability along with depression.

The doctor may suggest a regular follow-up after recommending an altered or modified treatment plan to the patient for careful monitoring.

Potential factors contributing to grumpy mood in Wellbutrin users

A grumpy mood is not always observed in patients taking Wellbutrin. Whereas, it is one of the side effects of this drug. The following are the factors that influence the incidence of Grumpy moods in patients taking Wellbutrin:

Individual variation: Individuals have different brain chemistry and sensitivity to Wellbutrin. Genetic factors also play an important role in the variation of side effects in different patients.

Dosage: Higher doses of Welbutrin are more likely to cause a grumpy mood as compared to lower doses.

Treatment duration: The duration of treatment also plays an important role in the appearance of side effects. A grumpy mood is usually observed at the start of the treatment as the body tries to adjust to the effects of Wellbutrin.

Pre-existing Conditions: Individuals with pre-existing mood disorders such as bipolar disorder are more prone to experiencing a grumpy mood as a result of taking Wellbutrin.

Interactions: Wellbutrin interacts with alcohol and caffeine. It can cause more instability in the mood of the patient taking it.

Age and Gender: Older patients are more susceptible to the appearance of side effects. However, in some cases, gender variability also plays a significant role in the incidence of side effects of Wellbutrin.

Tips to manage grumpy mood caused by Wellbutrin

Self-awareness is the first step in managing moods. Managing a grumpy mood can be challenging but here are some tips and strategies to manage it.

  • Try to identify the specific triggers and then try to avoid them.
  • Meditation can help relieve stress and can cause considerable comfort in grumpy moods. Meditation (Deep breathing and muscle relaxation) can be an effective therapy.
  • Physical activities can help release endorphins which are natural mood lifters.
  • Inadequate sleep can cause irritability leading to a grumpy mood. Establish consistent sleep schedules to ensure adequate rest.
  • Social support can help you cope with a grumpy mood. Talk to a friend to get emotional relief and support.
  • Excessive caffeine and alcohol can cause mood swings. While you are taking Wellbutrin, avoid caffeine and alcohol intake.

It is important to note that if you are experiencing persistent mood issues that interfere with you daily routine and life styel, then consulting your doctor is advisable.


Irritability, mood swings or grumpy mood can be experienced when taking certain antidepressants including Wellbutrin. This side effects is manageable but consulting your healthcare povider is always the best choice.

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