Is this all there is to Wellbutrin?
September 2, 2014 5:48 AM Subscribe
I've been taking Wellbutrin for depression for about 5 months now. It helps, but not as much as I hoped. Is this a common experience?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have dysthymia, i.e. chronic low level depression. In April I decided to go on antidepressants for the first time in my life (I'm in my thirties). I was on 150mg Wellbutrin for the first month, then my therapist upped the dose to 300mg, which I've been taking ever since. It's the brand name, not a generic. I'm feeling better, but not as much better as I would like.
What Wellbutrin has done, which I'm extremely grateful for, is take away the lowest lows. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night and start crying, and I rarely have days when I feel like I just can't get out of bed. This is awesome. But, my mood is still pretty glum most of the time. If before Wellbutrin it used to swing between about 2 and 5 on a 10-point scale, now it just stays more or less around 4-5, with an occasional shortlived uptick to 6 or 7 (usually caused by caffeine or other stimulants). I want to actually feel happy, not just not terrible.
I know that a lot of my depression has to do with life circumstances, which are pretty stressful right now: I'm likely to be unemployed in a few months and my long-term career prospects are dim. I'm also very isolated -- I have one or two friends, not very close ones, I've had sex a total of five times in the past year, and I've never been in a serious romantic relationship in my life. I tend to avoid social activities out of a mixture of anxiety and anhedonia. I've been in therapy for a couple of years now, but it hasn't helped much.
All these are problems I could take active steps about, but I'm trapped in a cycle where low mood saps my willpower and optimism and makes nothing feel worth doing, so I do nothing, which feeds my depression. I was hoping that Wellbutrin would jump-start my reward centers, help me get a little more enjoyment out of life and give me a positive reason to get out there, do things and talk to people, but it hasn't had that effect.
I have an appointment with my psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and will bring all this up. I'm very reluctant to go on a different antidepressant because of possible side effects (especially loss of libido and insomnia), but maybe adding an anxiolytic of some kind would make sense? I don't know. If you've been on Wellbutrin or other antidepressants, how does my experience compare with yours?
(I don't want this to be another general "How do I get less depressed" thread -- please avoid well-meaning "exercise more"-type suggestions and stick to the meds topic. Thanks.)