How Long Does It Take for Wellbutrin to Work?

how long does it take for wellbutrin to work

Are you interested in treating your seasonal affective disorder or depression with Wellbutrin? How long does it take for Wellbutrin to work?

If you are struggling with symptoms of depression, finding the right medication to treat your symptoms is essential.  Wellbutrin may be the right fit for you if you are hoping to:

  • Increase your mood
  • Increase your focus and concentration
  • Improve your quality of sleep
  • Renew your interest in hobbies, activities, and/or social events
  • Improve your confidence
  • Feel more in control of your emotions.

Wellbutrin is commonly prescribed by a Psychiatrist who specializes in treating depression.  It may take as many as 4 weeks to start seeing signs of improvement in your mood while taking this drug.  Take this medication regularly per your doctor’s orders to get the full benefit of this drug.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Antidepressant Medications

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that treats adult depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).   It is available as Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR.  The SR stands for sustained-release and the XL is an extended-release medication.

Wellbutrin SR releases slower into the bloodstream over 12 hours and is commonly prescribed to treat depression.

Wellbutrin XL is commonly prescribed to treat depression as well as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If you have been diagnosed with depression, or bipolar disorder, or believe you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and wish to pursue treatment options in California, contact Dr. Alex Anastasiou’s office at 925-425-0191 to schedule a new patient appointment today. Dr. Anastasiou specializes in the treatment of teens and adults with depression.

Symptoms of Depression

Type of Antidepressant Medication

Wellbutrin is classified as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).  It is believed to work by interfering with the reuptake of the two neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.  Bupropion is the active ingredient in Wellbutrin and can be prescribed for young adults and older.

Bupropion does not affect serotonin reuptake, making it different from antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  For this reason, Bupropion is often considered an atypical antidepressant.

How Long Does it Take for Wellbutrin to Work?

For most people, antidepressants can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months to start working.

However, for Wellbutrin, it can take only a couple of weeks to start seeing its effects.

For a professional depression assessment in California, choose Dr. Alex Anastasiou. Call our office at 925-425-0191 during regular business hours to schedule, or send an emaito

Full Effect

The full effect of Wellbutrin can be seen from 6-8 weeks to within a couple of months.

Here are some of the signs that Wellbutrin has reached its full effect:

Increased mood

You’ll know that Wellbutrin is working when you and others around you notice an increased mood.   Feeling less overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed is a sign that Wellbutrin is working.  Increasing your mood is one of the main reasons for taking Wellbutrin and a psychiatrist will be able to confirm that the drug is working if you feel an elevated mood.

Increased focus and concentration

Wellbutrin is used to treat depression, and while treating depression you will have an increased focus and concentration as well.  This is one of the positive side effects of taking this medication.  When people are feeling depressed or struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), they often find it hard to maintain concentration and focus on the task at hand.  For example, they may have difficulty focusing at work or school.  Wellbutrin will start working within weeks to increase your focus and concentration, which will impact your motivation and drive to succeed in your personal, social, and work environments.

Better sleep

When people find themselves struggling with depressive symptoms, their sleep is often affected negatively.  When Wellbutrin starts to work, patients often report having better and healthier sleep.   Sleep is such an important part of our lives, and everything else seems to suffer when we get less sleep than we need.   Wellbutrin can help you get the best sleep of your life once its effects start kicking in.

Interested in hobbies and activities

A common struggle many people have when they are feeling depressed is a lack of interest in hobbies, or activities, or a desire to work on personal goals.  With Wellbutrin taking its full effect, within a couple of weeks or months, patients have described becoming more interested in their hobbies and activities once again.

Interested in going to social events

Patients have reported feeling like the sun is shining again in their lives and the dark cloud is lifting.   With increased motivation and desire to live life, most people become interested in going to social events again as well.

Anxiety has lessened

Anxiety caused by depression should lessen once Wellbutrin has taken full effect.

Increased Confidence

Wellbutrin has been known to increase patient’s confidence and enthusiasm for life within six to eight weeks.  

Feeling sad less often and happier more often

When Wellbutrin starts to work, people report feeling sad less often and happier more often.

Feeling more control over your emotions

Mood swings are often reduced when taking Wellbutrin and patients report feeling in more control over their emotions.

Sexual Side Effects

Many people report feeling positive sexual side effects while taking Wellbutrin alone or in combination with other medications.  Your doctor will consider drug interactions before prescribing Wellbutrin.  Wellbutrin is often prescribed to people who have reported sexual dysfunction from other types of medications typically prescribed to treat their symptoms.  

Drug Administration

Take medication only as directed by your doctor.  Follow your doctor’s instructions as the dose of this medicine will be different for everyone.  Contact your healthcare professional if you experience a missed dose.  Wellbutrin is available in tablet form and kept at room temperature.

how long does wellbutrin take to work

Possible Side Effects of Wellbutrin

The overall goal is to improve a person’s emotional state.  Wellbutrin users can make decisions, focus, and think more effectively.   However, all prescription drugs often have side effects.   Here are some of the common side effects and medical conditions of Wellbutrin that you may want to be aware of:

Mild Side Effects

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Appetite loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach pain
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Eye pain
  • Tremor
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Skin reactions
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Rash

Serious Side Effects and Adverse Effects

Please get emergency help immediately if you start to experience any of the following symptoms of serious side effects or adverse effects:

  • Risk of seizures
  • Risk of suicidal thoughts
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Fainting
  • Allergic reaction

Withdrawal Symptoms

Wellbutrin should be discontinued upon the medical advice of your prescribing doctor or psychiatrist.   They will most likely suggest that you lower your dose gently and gradually to avoid any negative withdrawal symptoms.  You should not stop an antidepressant too suddenly or too quickly. It is important to follow the directions given to you on how to taper off Wellbutrin.  Negative types of withdrawal symptoms to be aware of if coming off the medication include dizziness, lightheadedness, upset stomach, fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How Long Does it Take for Wellbutrin to Work

What does it feel like when Wellbutrin starts working?

The answer to the question “What does it feel like when Wellbutrin starts working?” is that it varies from person to person, however, many people report feeling improved changes in their mood, concentration, and energy within weeks to a few months.  Be sure to consult your psychiatrist or prescribing doctor to confirm that Wellbutrin is working for you and to discuss any side effects that you may be experiencing after starting your new prescription.

Does Wellbutrin kick in immediately?

The answer to the question “Does Wellbutrin kick in immediately?” is that it can take a couple of weeks to reach the steady-state concentration.  Feeling the effects of Wellbutrin will vary from person to person, but many people report feeling signs of a better mood and energy within a couple of weeks.  The drug Wellbutrin can take effect within 2-5 hours.

How long after taking Wellbutrin will I feel it?

The answer to the question “How long after taking Wellbutrin will I feel it?” is that the full effect of Wellbutrin can be seen from 6-8 weeks to within a couple of months. You should start feeling some combination of the following positive side effects from Wellbutrin: increased mood, increased focus and concentration, better sleep, renewed interest in hobbies, activities, and social events, less anxiety, increased confidence, and feeling more in control of your emotions.

How can I tell if Wellbutrin is working?

The answer to the question “How can I tell if Wellbutrin is working?” is that it will not typically have an immediate effect on your body.  You will need to be monitored by a psychiatrist in the following weeks after starting Wellbutrin to confirm that you are indeed experiencing the positive therapeutic benefits of Wellbutrin.  A psychiatrist may assess if a dosage change is required to ensure Wellbutrin is working for you.  Consult your doctor for more information on whether Wellbutrin is working for you.

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Final Thoughts on How Long Does It Take for Wellbutrin to Work

If you are struggling with depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), ask your doctor or psychiatrist about Wellbutrin today.

If you have been wondering “How long does it take for Wellbutrin to work,” please know that most people will see improvement within weeks to a couple of months.   You may need to have patience as you wait for the full effect of the drug to kick in.  Your doctor will be monitoring you and your side effects to make sure that Wellbutrin is the correct fit for you.

You don’t have to suffer from depression when there are treatment options available for you, such as Wellbutrin.  A psychiatrist can do an initial evaluation with you via telehealth to discuss all your symptoms, your medical history, your family’s medical history, and more.

Ask your healthcare provider for more information and get the help you need to improve your quality of life!

Feel free to reach out to Dr. Anastasiou by phone at 925-425-0191 during business hours, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and he will gladly discuss options for depression and other mental health conditions.

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Wishing you the best in treating your depression symptoms with Wellbutrin!

Feel free to reach out to Dr. Anastasiou by phone at 925-425-0191 during business hours, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and he will gladly discuss options for depression and other mental health conditions.

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Dr. Alex Anastasiou – Psychiatrist