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Depression 104: Treatment with Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin is a unique and effective treatment for certain types of depression.

When depression is persistent and the gloomy cloud associated with it, just won’t go away, physicians employ a variety of diagnostic modalities and treatments to improve mood and sense of well-being.

The PHQ-9 questionnaire and the GAD-7 assist healthcare professionals better understand the dynamics, and the possible association of anxiety as a component of the mood disorder.

When it comes to treatment – exercise, healthy food, adequate rest; avoidance of drugs, alcohol and stress, comprise critical adjuncts to therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling is often employed, and is an important modality as well.

In previous episodes, I have discussed the use of SSRIs like Zoloft and Celexa as well as SNRIs like Effexor and Cymbalta to treat depression. In this post, I am zeroing in on one of my favorites, Wellbutrin or bupropion.

Wellbutrin is different than the others. It combines the effective antidepressant action of norepinephrine and serotonin re-uptake inhibition with similar action on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Individuals with lethargic depression benefit most from Wellbutrin and while other antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and Cymbalta often cause weight gain, the action of Wellbutrin avoids this troublesome side effect and not uncommonly – get this – promotes weight loss!

Another reason I often prescribe Wellbutrin pertains to its libido or sex drive enhancing properties for both men and women. If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know that one of the features of this disorder is loss of sexual appetite, so this is a particularly beneficial effect for many individuals.

Also, beware, for reasons not at all understood, utilization of anti-depressants in young adults is associated with an increase incidence of suicide, so they must be used with caution in that age group.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Stay tuned for Depression 201, where I drill down on ways to improve serotonin levels without drugs or medications. In the interim, take charge! Power your path to happiness!