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Wellbutrin and cravings.

Old 03-25-2018, 09:52 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I am usually a lurker but I have a little bit to add here. I have been on paxil/paroxitine/ arapax ( same anti-depressant) for 20 years. About 10 years ago when living in Edinburgh I started cutting down on it. They have it in the liquid form in the UK and US. I got down to half and suddenly I lost any desire to drink.I was easily sober for six months.I have since read that certain ad's can heighten the desire to drink and also some can lesson it. It was a profound change. Unfortunately I moved to a different country that does not have liquid meds and had to go back up again due to terrible side effects. I don't deny that I am an alcoholic through and through but I am convinced that certain psychoactive drugs can increase or decrease the desire. Just my thoughts. Sorry if this is inappropriate.

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Old 04-09-2019, 04:04 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Anonym0us View Post
I started taking wellbutrin XL 300mg about 46 days ago. Since I started I have had greatly reduced cravings for alcohol - staying sober became easy.

I went 44 days sober and then treated myself to a few pints on my birthday. Interestingly I was able to control it and cut it off after a few. The next day I had zero inclination to drink more or go out again - apart from the social aspect. Normally I would have woke up the day after and wanted a 2l of vodka sadly, but not even an inkling for it anymore. (Towards the end of my drinking career I put that back daily for 6 months, I was in some serious alkie territory. I'm only 25.).

It's quite extraordinary really. I don't intend to play with fire and drink again but does this suggest a huge role in dopamine brain chemistry in my particular case? I find a lot of the things I used to do when drinking - listening to music or re-watching TV series - things I normally wouldn't do sober are now enjoyable without the drink. I asked my doctor about it and he couldn't give me a definitive answer as no one really knows how these drugs actually work, but suggested my dopamine theory was on the right track. He'd heard of it working for smoking, but not so much with drinking.

I'm far from convinced I'm cured, fairly certain if I stopped the drug I'd be getting fall down hammered again in no time. But it might be an option for some people to try, it's been a lifesaver.
On Valentine's day, a strange thing happened - my alcohol cravings disappeared. I used to drink a couple of glasses of wine every night and more on the weekend. I've tried for years to become a normal social drinker with no success.

I was just at my doctors and I told her about this. We finally boiled it down to the Wellbutrin because I had started it in early October for the first time.

Now I don't even think about running to the liquor store or impatiently wait until 5 o'clock so I can have a drink. And I can have a glass of wine with friends without the cravings starting up.

One thing though, is that I'm very aware of the effect alcohol has on my body now and prefer the way I feel when I haven't been drinking.

I take 300mg of Mylan-bupropion XL HCL in the morning. And no, I haven't lost weight on it like many say they do.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:20 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lavenderfields View Post
On Valentine's day, a strange thing happened - my alcohol cravings disappeared. I used to drink a couple of glasses of wine every night and more on the weekend. I've tried for years to become a normal social drinker with no success.

I was just at my doctors and I told her about this. We finally boiled it down to the Wellbutrin because I had started it in early October for the first time.

Now I don't even think about running to the liquor store or impatiently wait until 5 o'clock so I can have a drink. And I can have a glass of wine with friends without the cravings starting up.

One thing though, is that I'm very aware of the effect alcohol has on my body now and prefer the way I feel when I haven't been drinking.

I take 300mg of Mylan-bupropion XL HCL in the morning. And no, I haven't lost weight on it like many say they do.
That's great.

You may know that Wellbutrin is marketed as Zyban, a drug to help smokers who want to quit. I first took Wellbutrin more than twenty years ago for depression. It didn't work very well for me at that time and came with some very bad side effects.

Anyway, very early on in the treatment, I disliked the very idea of drinking coffee. So I stopped, on the spot. I wondered then whether or not WB played with taste buds and/or the sense of smell.

When I stopped taking it, I craved coffee again.

I started taking WB again more than two years ago. Medications that did not work at one time in our lives may work at another time. I still drink coffee, and I don't smoke, but my appetite changed considerably, both in the amount of food and the types of food I eat. My appetite hasn't returned to its previous baseline and, due to the normal aging process, I don't expect it ever will. That remains to be seen.

Some of the SSRIs have been implicated in triggering cravings for alcohol. But they also help with alcohol withdrawal and with symptoms associated with PAWS. As is true of most of these medications, you can't expect to have the same results, or consequences, as someone else.

I don't recommend medication for anyone unless life and death are serious considerations. Personal research and a competent prescriber make up the best defense against unwanted consequences due to medication.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:03 PM
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Why does it have to be "life and death" before medication is OK?

I'm not going to die if I've had surgery and don't take pain medications of some sort, but I'm going to take them if possible. For the record, I LOATHE the way opioid pain meds make me feel, I take them just until the pain becomes tolerable.

But this applies to a lot of psych meds. You might not die or commit suicide without an antidepressant, but if it helps, why not take it? I take Wellbutrin, and about a month after I started it I completely lost my craving for nicotine (I'd picked up smoking in rehab again after quitting for 9 years).
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
Why does it have to be "life and death" before medication is OK?
It doesn't have to be last time I checked? If anything i think psych meds are more oversubscribed than being a "life or death" measure. I have been offered both benzos and ssri's multiple times, even by a nurse practitioner, when I brought up my anxiety to them. Thankfully I was aware of the dangers of benzos for someone like me from a community like SR and was able to make a smarter choice.
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:28 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
Why does it have to be "life and death" before medication is OK?

I'm not going to die if I've had surgery and don't take pain medications of some sort, but I'm going to take them if possible. For the record, I LOATHE the way opioid pain meds make me feel, I take them just until the pain becomes tolerable.

But this applies to a lot of psych meds. You might not die or commit suicide without an antidepressant, but if it helps, why not take it? I take Wellbutrin, and about a month after I started it I completely lost my craving for nicotine (I'd picked up smoking in rehab again after quitting for 9 years).
It doesn't have to be. I didn't express myself very well. I apologize for that.

I deal with psych meds in my work, but that doesn't make me anyone's expert. There are also plenty of available resources, including a consultation with a psychiatrist or a psychopharmacologist. I'll tell people who ask me about medication what antidepressants have done for me. I haven't had any obvious, unwanted, long-term side effects. Everyone has a different experience, which is one among other things that we cannot know in advance.

Either choice carries significant consequences which are, again, something that we cannot know in advance. I think it's important to talk about our resistance and our expectations before making the decision to medicate or not to medicate. And about our fears. Giving up such a powerful, familiar, and sometimes all-consuming state of being as depression can be -- after months, years, or lots of years of suffering -- is not always as simple as it might seem.

Taking medication while feeling under duress to do so usually doesn't work out very well. Avoiding medications for fear of losing an increasingly destructive way of being can often make things much worse. There are other, very personal, considerations for a lot of people as well.

I can talk about my experiences with medication, but other people's decisions are not mine to make. I don't know that people don't end up making the choice without taking in other people's suggestions. Most of us humans don't take advice very well.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:51 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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Ah, much better explanation.

Anxiety is a VERY sticky wicket. Benzos treat it amazingly well...and they're also fiercely addictive and cause rapid tolerance and dosage increases. I have been through benzo withdrawal and cannot go near them. I take buspirone intead, which seems to help long term.

SSRIs helped me a great deal in the short term to help me get out of dense depressions. Long term for me they are not viable, as I enjoy sex and simply can't have it while on SSRIs. Wellbutrin works better for me long term, but it also has sides like anxiety. I think I've found the sweet spot with buproprion and buspirone.

Wondering if esketamine (ketamine derivative) will help with dense, even suicidal depression for short term treatment. I find that development fascinating.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:24 AM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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I had very intense and frequent cravings for alcohol for a good while in early sobriety. There was nothing that made them dissipate except time spent sober. And they came back with the same intensity after a relatively short relapse and I had to endure the same all over. If I could do one significant thing better in my early recovery journey, it would be to try meds that can potentially alleviate cravings. There would likely be a relatively low probability as those treatments do not tend to work much for more people than the cases where they make a real difference, but I would still try as there was virtually nothing else that made me give in once I was motivated to get sober, except the momentary strong cravings. Any known temporary side effect could have been easily accepted by me if the cravings had been helped significantly, it was very hard and methods like cognitive exercises, going to meetings, lifestyle changes etc made very minimal difference initially, mostly none. I think it was a physiological thing, much like clinical depression.

Waiting to try treatment until a condition becomes so bad that it'll take a lot more and more invasive interventions to get better and to restore the damage is much like what we addicts tend to do when we don't take it seriously enough and don't use readily available help until there has been very significant destruction (the so-called "rock bottom" stories, for example). I would not recommend that to anyone but, sadly, that is what often happens.

I tried some meds a few years ago for mood issues but, stupidly, not for the issue that presented the biggest risks to my recovery: those cravings. I don't take any psych meds now as I don't need them but still regret not trying even if the chances for them to help were statistically quite low. My opinion about psych medication is that it should be used with consideration, qualified necessary supervision, and using cost/benefit assessments. Way too easy these days to get pills prescribed unnecessarily. But there are just as many people suffering in secret when, at least, they could have options to explore.
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Aellyce2 View Post
My opinion about psych medication is that it should be used with consideration, qualified necessary supervision, and using cost/benefit assessments. Way too easy these days to get pills prescribed unnecessarily. But there are just as many people suffering in secret when, at least, they could have options to explore.
Agreed. When taking ANY medication, not just psych medications, the side effect risks must be balanced against the benefits of treatment. Generally the risks of psych meds are transient, if you experience side effects they subside with continued treatment as the body adjusts or go away when the medication is tapered/discontinued.

But not all. Nearly any medication can trigger Steven Johnson Syndrome, a type of allergic reaction that can cause burns to the skin and eyes, and can be fatal. Lamictal (used as a mood stabilizer) carries this risk, it's rare, but it has a black-box warning. Lithium must be monitored or it can cause various types of organ damage. Antipsychotics, also now used frequently as a mood stabilizer, have a risk of permanent movement disorders.

In any event, I strongly believe that psych meds should not be taken without evaluation by a trained psychiatrist, NOT your GP writing a prescription for Prozac. Psych docs are trained in the art of managing what can often be a cocktail of effective medication, as well as negotiating the side effects. GPs are not. In addition, I strongly suggest that with psychiatry, as with any other medical issues, the patient should also be their own advocate. Educate yourself, and ask questions. Your doctor should know more than Dr. Google, but sometimes they might not think of something that you've encountered in your own research. A good doctor will discuss things with you that you bring up through your research, and a good patient will not assume that because they've read some anecdotal stories on the internet than they know more than the doctor.

Anything I said above is through my own research and experience. Don't take my word for it. Ask a psychiatrist and do your research. In any event, there's a huge overlap between mental illness conditions like depression, anxiety and especially bipolar disorder, and substance abuse disorder.
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Old 07-23-2019, 02:30 PM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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Wellbutrin and Dopamine

Originally Posted by Anonym0us View Post
I started taking wellbutrin XL 300mg about 46 days ago. Since I started I have had greatly reduced cravings for alcohol - staying sober became easy.

I went 44 days sober and then treated myself to a few pints on my birthday. Interestingly I was able to control it and cut it off after a few. The next day I had zero inclination to drink more or go out again - apart from the social aspect. Normally I would have woke up the day after and wanted a 2l of vodka sadly, but not even an inkling for it anymore. (Towards the end of my drinking career I put that back daily for 6 months, I was in some serious alkie territory. I'm only 25.).

It's quite extraordinary really. I don't intend to play with fire and drink again but does this suggest a huge role in dopamine brain chemistry in my particular case? I find a lot of the things I used to do when drinking - listening to music or re-watching TV series - things I normally wouldn't do sober are now enjoyable without the drink. I asked my doctor about it and he couldn't give me a definitive answer as no one really knows how these drugs actually work, but suggested my dopamine theory was on the right track. He'd heard of it working for smoking, but not so much with drinking.

I'm far from convinced I'm cured, fairly certain if I stopped the drug I'd be getting fall down hammered again in no time. But it might be an option for some people to try, it's been a lifesaver.
Thank you for posting this! I was searching for alcoholicsí experiences w Wellbutrin. I have long known I was using alcohol to medicate some sort of chemical deficiency in my brain but was unwilling to do anything about it until last year. My psychiatrist had me try SSRIs but they just made me want to eat carbs and sleep...I didnít want to drink but I didnít care to do anything really. Six months ago, I started Wellbutrin and it has been a life changer. I have been more physically and socially active and I have been able to drink periodically without the torturous thoughts of wanting to drink the next morning...and on and on. I know I may be tempting fate but I also know that something is very different in my brain. My thoughts have been about being w friends rather than what I am going to drink when I am out socially. And being able to go out socially without alcohol is a new thing as well. I am not new to sobriety or struggle but the medication is new so Iím hopeful.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:38 PM
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:07 PM
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If you think you can drink normally with Wellbutrin you are mistaken. It can be great when used to quit and you get a program or therapy, but it won't work long term.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:20 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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I struggled with addiction for about 30 years. A couple of months ago I was prescribed Wellbutrin for depression and ADD. Since then I don't have any cravings anymore for either alcohol or cocaine and it has been easy to stay sober. Since Wellbutrin is a dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor I was wondering if alcoholics/addicts with ADHD/ADD who are prescribed methylfenidate like for example Concerta or amphetamines like Adderal which are all dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors as well also have less or no cravings.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:08 PM
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To each his or her own but for me, I didn't want to quit drinking only to become dependent upon another drug besides alcohol. I find recovery much easier and more rewarding vs substituting one (or several) meds for the booze.

And besides, stopping alcohol didn't really treat my alcoholism other than to get me dry and put me in a position to begin treating the true nature and source of my issue(s).
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:47 AM
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I've been sober almost 7 months, and started taking Wellbutrin a few months ago to replace another anti-depressant I had been taking. I didn't even think about whether it would help with cravings, because my cravings stopped long ago. Maybe it will assist with future cravings that would otherwise pop up?

Either way, I'm not taking anything for granted in my sobriety. Cravings or not, I won't drink.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:45 PM
  # 56 (permalink)  
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Alas, it would be wonderful if we could take a pill and stop or control our drinking but it doesn't work that way. It takes a huge amount of determination to go to any lengths to stay sober .... hey, it's a mental illness, folks. I couldn't get or stay sober on my own and went to AA. If that's not for you, fine. But find some program and stick with it. This disease kills so many.
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