Wellbutrin for adult ADHD?: Hi everyone... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Wellbutrin for adult ADHD?

Newbie-1 profile image
22 Replies

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the whole ADHD diagnosis thing. I'm 41, a mom, wife, and teacher. I was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD (inattentive type.) I have tried stimulants. I really don't want to have to take a stimulant, because then I have to take Klonopin to calm the jitters! I recently tried Mydayis which is a long adding adderall type medication. Sleep is the problem! I have to take a low dose of seroquel (25 MG) to get to sleep. I want to get off the sleep meds. I decided to ask my doctor if I could try Wellbutrin instead of a stimulant. She prescribed 150XL. I take it early. It's only been about 10 days, and I think I am feeling something. Maybe less depression, and more energy? I still can't focus like I could on the stimulant. I am also experiencing insomnia! Any advice?

22 Replies
LunacyInmate profile image

Wellbutrin caused me insomnia too. I have taken Lunesta in the past and had a super good experience. Good sleep, no groggy feeling in the morning. I was just taken off of my seroquel (25mg) because it's causing weight gain. It's taken 3 weeks, but i am finally able to sleep without it. I take otc sleep aid, still.

Newbie-1 profile image
Newbie-1 in reply to LunacyInmate

What type of OTC med are you taking for sleep. Doctor prescribed amitryptyline for sleep, but i feel so groggy!

LunacyInmate profile image
LunacyInmate in reply to Newbie-1

I take a generic sleep aid. Advil pm without the advil. I am also prescribed hydroxyzine for anxiety (basically a strong benedryl) and it helps with sleep some.

zonarosso profile image
zonarosso in reply to Newbie-1

Doxylamine works best for me for sleep. Walgreens sells it. Sometimes hard to find but you can order it online, For me way less grogginess then diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Usually I only take 1/2 tab 15 minutes or so before bed. Tylenol also helps me sleep. I too have just started Welbutrin after trying Celexa which made me a zombie. I have heart issues so can't take a stimulant. I'm 63 and finally am starting to do something about my ADHD. Good luck!

Alan0127 profile image

Newbie,I’ve often thought there is a lot of irony in someone with ADHD trying to figure out a and sticking to a consistent medication plan. But that is beside the point...

I have recently started Wellbutrin to help my particular variety of ADHD. I’m 68 and the doctor wanted me to stop the Adderall because *statistically* it can cause heart failure of one type or another.

She started me on 150mg of Wellbutrin but I didn’t notice much change. I went up to 300mg and as you have reported, it improved my sense of well-being but it didn’t beat what I experience with ADHD, which is a general, continuous, low grade panic attack. The max dose is 400mg. From what I’ve studied, it just doesn’t do anything above that level for anyone.

What is working for me is 10 mg of Adderall that I take about every 5 hours, one when I get up, one about 11:00 AM, and one about 4:00PM. Avoiding Adderall after 4:00 ensures that it won’t interrupt my sleep. But in my case, Adderall calms my brain down to where I can usually sleep well even if I take it. I went to a cardiologist and she said that Adderall is really only dangerous for people with existing heart conditions.

That’s my experience with Wellbutrin.

Newbie-1 profile image
Newbie-1 in reply to Alan0127

Thanks so much for replying! I am going to contact my doctor to ask about the immediate release adderall. She suggested something similar. I will let you know what happens!

Bmint34_ profile image
Bmint34_ in reply to Newbie-1

For my self-analysis by comparison, what is a “general, continuous low-grade panic attack” like? I “scare” myself with bad thoughts I have trouble batting away. The irony - LOL.

storyteller76 profile image
storyteller76 in reply to Alan0127

so interesting reading all of these posts…. I take it most here on this chat are from the U.S?

I live in the uk and on our health care system they use the same test for adults as they do for children… only 5% of adults get diagnosis it’s extremely under diagnosed here ….. and they won’t test kids unless they are climbing the walls…. Literally . If your child can sit still then they don’t have it apparently …….. so I’m at a lost how to get it diagnosed

Boo0102 profile image

I was diagnosed at 46 and have taken Wellbutrin for several years. Early on I was on stimulants and it was a whole new world. Loved it - then discovered an electrical issue with my heart, so docs said “no stimulants “. Life got hard, so doc put me on Wellbutrin XL. That left me feeling somewhat anxious and jittery, as well as interfering with my sleep. So he switched me to the SR version. Now I take 200mg 2x day. It is very smooth for me, however, I try not to take the second dose after 4pm, or it will affect my sleep. As far as Wellbutrin for ADHD, it doesn’t even come close to stimulants for me. It helps with my mood, and ability to cope, but focus and impulse control and other executive functions are not fazed.

Curious to see which stimulants you tried and for how long. My experience was it takes a bit for my body to regulate to the new med.

Another thing that could help if you return to stimulants, is the genetic testing for meds (specifically looking for impact of MTHFR gene). I had the one from GeneSight done for my son and it helped narrow down which stimulants would work best for him.

Newbie-1 profile image
Newbie-1 in reply to Boo0102

Hello! I am worried about heart issues (but I am so much more happier and focused on adderall. Ive tried concerta and it didnt help as much.

Gem1n1 profile image

I’m a 33 female diagnosed with ADHD last year. I’ve always had insomnia with or without the stimulants, and it’s because of my racing mind (the stimulants wear off by nighttime). My ADHD is so severe that I’d rather be on stimulants and deal with side effects than dealing with my ADHD.

I tried Wellbutrin, but it doesn’t help my ADHD symptoms nor insomnia. I’ve tried 4 or 5+ different brands of stimulants, and the right one for me doesn’t give me jitters. I used to take Benadryl at night to help the insomnia but it gave me restless legs.

I do a routine at night to help the insomnia (but it doesn’t fix it). I wear an eye mask, use a white noise machine, do breathing exercises, and a zero gravity massage chair to help me relax before I go to bed. Rocking is calming for me, so I am on the hunt for a “rocking bed” for adults lol.

Boo0102 profile image
Boo0102 in reply to Gem1n1

Hi there. Man, I totally understand where you are coming from. Back in my 30's I had horrible insomnia. Racing mind not shutting off and trouble falling to sleep and staying asleep. Now that I'm in my 50's - I still don't get enough sleep, but it's because of stupid choices haha. Anyway - A couple of suggestions/thoughts for you:1. A weighted blanket - studies have shown that they actually do help with sleep. Our family uses the ones from Luna.

2. Magnesium supplementation - most people are actually deficient in magnesium. It actually helps with sleep in that it calms the nervous system and helps with stress. You can take it about 30 minutes before bed. I'm currently using Kalm Assure. For precautions, have it checked by your doc.

3. Vitamin D supplementation if you need it, which you probably do as most people are deficient as well. Better to have it checked by your doctor, but it can also help with muscle function including relaxation. Ever lay in bed at night thinking that your body just has to MOVE?

I have also taken epsom salts baths before bed and they are very relaxing and calming. When I do this, I will often sleep better, deeper.

Hope you're able to get some sleep - and good luck finding the rocking bed!

Gem1n1 profile image
Gem1n1 in reply to Boo0102

Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve tried a weighted blanket, but it made me feel as though I was suffocating, so it didn’t help me. I’m sure it helps others! I added magnesium and vitamin D supplements daily for about a year now per my doctor’s recommendations. I don’t notice much of a difference, but I continue to take them. I love baths and take them as often as I can!

Boo0102 profile image
Boo0102 in reply to Gem1n1

Yes, that blanket can be a bit much! I was reading that you’re supposed to “ease” into it by only covering a portion of your body before going the whole hog. I think I just went for it. Both of my ADHD teens really like theirs - in fact our 19yo has been asking for a heavier one. My doc says to take Vit D in the morning, then Magnesium in the evening as they can interfere with each other. I try to remember, but then hello, adhd happens. Haha.

BatWoman87 profile image

Hi Newbie, I'm 33yo and diagnosed just in February with mild inattentive.

No advice here really, just relating my experience with Wellbutrin.

I take Wellbutrin as part of my treatment for depression (diagnosed a few years ago now). It was an add-on to try to help with motivation / activation after I had very good, but incomplete response to Escitalopram alone. I saw a psychiatrist about a month after starting Wellbutrin about my continued inability to focus/concentrate, get motivated to do things, etc etc etc. even after my depression was quite well treated. He said that it was "too difficult to tell" if I had ADHD or not, so he suggested waiting a few months to see how my response to the Wellbutrin went, since it can be used for ADHD support.

For me, it didn't help enough. It helped a bit more with my depression, which is why I still take it, but it did essentially nothing for my ADHD. Cue another year and a half of ADHD procrastination before I finally pursued and received a diagnosis through psychological testing. Cue another 2 month wait to see the psychiatrist again about medication... still waiting. I can't wait to try stimulants, although I wonder what my response will be to them. All I know is I feel like a total failure and super inadequate when it comes to work, and I never get anything done. Yesterday and today have been write-offs so far, so I'm an especially debbie downer today.

I haven't had any particular side effects with Wellbutrin. I hope you're able to find something that works for you!

Newbie-1 profile image

Thank you! Wellbutrin just seems to make me irritable. Maybe a little help with emotions? Does nothing for AdHD. I just took my stimulant and feel 100x better! Im just scared of long term effects on the heart. Did I mention i have anxiety?

MamaBear21 profile image

Hi! I am looking for medication options for my 22 year old daughter. She has never liked the stimulant options. She said it made her feel weird and dull. Anybody have experiences with non-stimulant ADHD meds? (note: she is already on Wellbutrin and Lexapro for depression).


Chester_ profile image

If a stimulant med helps your adhd but makes you a bit jittery there are options that don't involve having to take Klonopin.

1) Your body may get used to the stimulant med over time.

2) You could add in a beta blocker, which is a med that lowers bp and heart rate and some of them can also aid with physical jitters

3) You could try something else to help with jitters, like L theanine, magnesium glycinate, and others.

4) Make sure that you're avoiding all caffeine sources while on a stimulant med, especially while your body is getting used to it. I've been on meds for awhile and I still can't combine caffeine with my meds because I know I'm sensitive to the combination and it would cause too many side effects like jitters. On adderall by itself I'm fine, and on caffeine by itself I'm fine. But I can't combine the two. This is common. A lot of people can't combine them, some can.

I was on Wellbutrin a few times at varying doses. This was back when I was being treated only for my depression and not my adhd (despite having a prior adhd diagnosis and being treated with adhd meds before, the drs refused to acknowledge my adhd. I finally found a new dr and got back on the right meds. But anyway, Wellbutrin actually made me more anxious and jittery. It did help my depression but the anxiety was too much to bear. My adhd wasn't helped at all by Wellbutrin.

I don't deal with insomnia. Personally, Adderall calms me down and can make me tired at times. Besides, I hate sleeping and always have....a weird quirk I guess. But you could try something else for sleep, like valerian root pills, chamomile pills, GABA pills, L theanine, a combination of these, or many other herbal/natural things. All of these are available at places like GNC or online vitamin shops.

HyperfocusedSquirrel profile image
HyperfocusedSquirrel in reply to Chester_

I had to chime in here. Wellbutrin just nearly caused me some serious trouble. My doctor said the increase in anxiety and new onset paranoia was just something I needed therapy for, but turns out the combo of Wellbutrin + my ADHD meds were causing psychosis. I am now struggling to get my brain chemistry back to normal (under care of a psychiatrist). So yeah, I'm not a huge fan of Wellbutrin for ADHD, despite what is supposed to be "safe". It can, in fact, help with focus, but there's apparently a fine therapeutic dose line between "improving focus" and "hyperfocus to the point of paranoia" when combining with some stimulants.

Some of those side effects will go away after 6 weeks or so-ish. I know this gets old but a brisk walk early in the day, no or little caffeine, and a good bedtime routine REALLY helps. ...but, like, ADHD? Sticking to a routine? HA! :D

D1zZyDaMe profile image

Hi Newbie-1,Everybody’s experiences with meds is unique. That said, Wellbutrin was prescribed for co-occurring depression and started out great…I felt sharp and focused. But then it wasn’t cutting it after the honeymoon phase and despite upping the dose to 300mg. I get more frequent headaches and feel kinda dull actually. Sleep has been a problem for years, so I take 50 mg. Quetiapine. I sleep like a log at the expense of morning grogginess. Ugh. It’s an unfortunate game of trial and error to find meds that “work”.

StoneJeweler profile image

Not sure why you tried a long acting type of adderal, a shorter acting one would be much better. I used Wellbutrin for a long time along with ADDERAL WHICH WORKED WELL until it didn't. Concerned about my elevated heart rate, I found a cardiologist who is working with me so I can take Vyvanse along with a heart medication that is helping my heart slow down. Elevated heart rate can wear out your heart and I was diagnosed with heart failure because my heart wasn't pumping strong enough FOR MY BODY ANYMORE. For me not taking a form of stimulant means I am almost bedridden, I'm soo tired. So working closely with my cardiologist we've found that Carvedilol is lowering and strengthening my heart rate from 110 to 80-90 right now and I will probably go to a higher dose soon. I know it gets tricky when your heart starts causing problems, so I am very careful, monitoring my BP and HR, before I take my meds. I am 70. I am very careful about medications, and doctors all have their go- to meds usually at least 2-4 to start with. Also I take trazodone for sleep which works well, no grogginess and I haven't had to increase my dose for over 10 years. Good luck

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