The Wellbutrin Experiment: Day 8

by Bill Brenner on January 20, 2012

As I mentioned earlier, I’m taking Wellbutrin to combat a tougher-than-usual bout of winter depression. Here’s where I stand eight days in.

Mood music:

I think I’m starting to feel it, though it’s hard to know for sure this soon. The nurse told me it could take several weeks before I’d feel the full effect, since Wellbutrin slowly accumulates. I have noticed a few things, though:

–I’m a little more focused than I’ve been in several weeks.

–I’m not feeling like I’m in a fog as much as I had been.

–I haven’t been feeling down like I was a week ago.

Whether it’s the Wellbutrin kicking in or not, I’m just glad to be feeling better.

Note: Four hours after writing the part you just read, I came down with vicious mood swings. As I write this, my skin doesn’t fit right, I’m itchy all over (yes, I showered today) and I’m agitated as hell. The good news is that I have gone through the same exact thing whenever my Prozac dose has been adjusted. It lasts a few hours, and then everything evens out. It’s usually the point I reach when the medication is about to kick in.

For those wondering what this experiment is all about, let’s review:

I started taking Wellbutrin because it’s supposed to shore up depleted brain chemistry that the Prozac isn’t designed to fix.

The Prozac increases the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a substance that helps transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. In other words, it keeps traffic in the brain moving normally.

It has served me well, but this winter the blue moods have been tougher to shake. Enter the Wellbutrin, a drug used to treat major depression and seasonal affective disorder. It’s also used to help people quit smoking because it squashes cravings.

While the Prozac raises Serotonin levels, Wellbutrin shores up another neurotransmitter called Dopamine.

If this all sounds confusing, think of the brain as a car engine. To run properly, the engine needs the right amount of fluids, including brake fluid, transmission fluid and oil. Run low on any one of these and you got problems.

It’s amusing for me considering my efforts to kick some addictions in recent years. Despite my sobriety and abstinence, here I am, finding that there’s better living through chemistry after all.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf January 20, 2012 at 5:47 am

Keep hanging in there, Bill.

Penny January 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Same thing from here, Bill. Hang in. From my limited experience, I know it’s not easy. We need a coffee date.

Joan Hadley January 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Good luck, Bill. Hugs

joel June 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Just keep clear of alcohol and caffeine. Those bring up some terrible side affects while on Wellbutrin. Im 15 and just started taking it, along side with another medication for imsomnia.

Deb January 8, 2013 at 4:25 am

Day eight for me on wellbutrin and its definately helping me with my depression but doing nothing to help me quit smoking so far but I am smoking less but cravings are still huge.

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