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GCAC's - Wellbutrin Weekly Journal


gcac

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I've been on Bupropion 300 mg. for a year now.  I don't consciously feel the effects of it, as my body has adjusted and it must be doing it's thing.   Also taking Paroxetine (35 mg. now).  Mentally, I do fine.  Physically, I sometimes feel dragged out or weighted down from the paroxetine.  Some sleep issues from the medications.....fall asleep fine, but seems like I can't get into a relaxed sleep most nights.  So that agitates me.  And contributes to my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) disorder.  For the most part, I function okay unless tired from poor quality sleep.  I do crave sugar a lot which is not normal for me.  I always ate healthy foods.   A whole bag of Brach's chocolate covered almonds for lunch one day.  A couple handfuls of candy corns after a healthy lunch.  Walmart was selling bags of them for .25 cents each after Halloween was over.  Cherry malts about 3 nights a week after dinner.  It's an everyday thing.  I'm trying to turn this trend around, but seems to happen when taking ssri's, of which I have no choice.

Glad you brought this thread up JD4010.

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On 11/7/2019 at 10:15 AM, Laura123 said:

The physical and cognitive symptoms did not strike me as depression.

I also never suspected my symptoms might be "depression". I thought it could be early Alzheimer's, or something hormonal. My whole concept of "depression" was wrong.

On 11/7/2019 at 10:15 AM, Laura123 said:

Therefore, I concluded that it had to be mainly biological, that there was something fundamentally wrong with my brain.

I agree there is something wrong with the depressed brain, I'm beginning to understand it as a kind of "reversible brain damage", where treatments are generally aiming to allow restoration of those neural networks.

On 11/7/2019 at 10:15 AM, Laura123 said:

it is likely the dysfunction that contributed;  in the way I handle stress, emotions, relationships

Totally agree with this. I can see how stress and GAD wore my brain down.

On 11/7/2019 at 10:15 AM, Laura123 said:

I just hope I didn't pass too much dysfunction on to my kids

This is probably my biggest fear as well, though they are young still. Do the best you can moving forward, and share with them anything you've learned about self-management and understanding "depression". And above all just love them and show them genuine appreciation.

On 11/7/2019 at 1:27 PM, MtnDreams said:

at the end of 4 weeks I am in a horrible, horrible place.

I recall my depression getting worse before it got better, I think it was somewhere around weeks 2 - 6 that I was feeling more depressed than before I started. In fact, that may not have corrected itself until I upped the dosage to 300 mg. The details are a bit fuzzy now.

On 11/7/2019 at 1:27 PM, MtnDreams said:

For now, I’m sticking it out and will probably up my dose to 300 based on the info you posted.

I would definitely increase to 300 mg and give it a chance to work for a good 6 weeks or so. If you still don't have any gains, then maybe talk to your pdoc about switching strategies.

 

On 12/11/2019 at 3:18 PM, JD4010 said:

I still fall into some deep depressions but I'm not nearly as "off the rails" as I was before starting the two meds.

That's exactly how I described my feelings to the psychiatrist who first diagnosed me earlier this year. "Off the rails". He made note of it.

On 12/11/2019 at 9:04 PM, Laura123 said:

I've been on Bupropion 300 mg. for a year now.  I don't consciously feel the effects of it, as my body has adjusted and it must be doing it's thing.   Also taking Paroxetine (35 mg. now).  Mentally, I do fine.  Physically, I sometimes feel dragged out or weighted down from the paroxetine.  Some sleep issues from the medications.....fall asleep fine, but seems like I can't get into a relaxed sleep most nights.  So that agitates me.  And contributes to my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) disorder.  For the most part, I function okay unless tired from poor quality sleep.

I'm thankful to the Wellbutrin the help it has provided. But it's certainly not a complete resolve. I have been doing a ton of research on a different treatment the last 3-4 months, and I think I am going to give that treatment a try. I will continue my Wellbutrin whilst I try out the other treatment. Will continue to post either way.

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Month #8

I guess I sort of skipped a month by posting a few days later on multiple occasions. At any rate, this is the eighth month, and it is mostly similar to the preceding months. The main item I should add to the previous posts is that there is kind of a weird "cumulative" effect that I feel, but is hard to describe. It's like, nothing has really improved, per se, but just the fact that I've felt this way for so many months makes me start to feel more like I own the improvements, instead of having them on loan from the medication.

On separate news, I've been thoroughly researching an alternative treatment that I think might be helpful, and is unlikely to make things worse, so I consider it kind of a zero downside proposition (economics aside). I will continue taking Wellbutrin during and after this treatment, so no change there. Will also keep updating the thread.

Also, many thanks to @Laura123 ,  @JD4010 and  @MtnDreams  for your kind words of support. Best to all of you.

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29 minutes ago, gcac said:

Month #8

I guess I sort of skipped a month by posting a few days later on multiple occasions. At any rate, this is the eighth month, and it is mostly similar to the preceding months. The main item I should add to the previous posts is that there is kind of a weird "cumulative" effect that I feel, but is hard to describe. It's like, nothing has really improved, per se, but just the fact that I've felt this way for so many months makes me start to feel more like I own the improvements, instead of having them on loan from the medication.

On separate news, I've been thoroughly researching an alternative treatment that I think might be helpful, and is unlikely to make things worse, so I consider it kind of a zero downside proposition (economics aside). I will continue taking Wellbutrin during and after this treatment, so no change there. Will also keep updating the thread.

Also, many thanks to @Laura123 ,  @JD4010 and  @MtnDreams  for your kind words of support. Best to all of you.

Curious about that alternative treatment! I've been utilizing an alternative as well...and I must admit, it's been very successful (I'm still on the Wellbutrin too).

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15 hours ago, JD4010 said:

Curious about that alternative treatment! I've been utilizing an alternative as well...and I must admit, it's been very successful (I'm still on the Wellbutrin too).

You've also made me very curious about which additional treatment you are finding success with -- do tell.

The treatment I'm looking at is ketamine infusions. It's not really a secret, was just avoiding mentioning it because the mods on this forum appear to be sorting out whether they want to allow discussions pertaining to ketamine treatments. I think it's pretty obvious they should allow it, but it's their decision I suppose.

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41 minutes ago, gcac said:

You've also made me very curious about which additional treatment you are finding success with -- do tell.

The treatment I'm looking at is ketamine infusions. It's not really a secret, was just avoiding mentioning it because the mods on this forum appear to be sorting out whether they want to allow discussions pertaining to ketamine treatments. I think it's pretty obvious they should allow it, but it's their decision I suppose.

I'll PM you...

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I just read your entries and they brought me hope. I'm currently going through a rough patch on wellbutrin.

I hope the stagnant parts improve soon since this med seems to suit you well.

I have a question about the dosage. In the beginning, your doctor advised you to take 300mg after 4 days but you stayed on 150mg. I'm curious to know if you take two 150 xl pills a day instead of one 300mg pill. Since it's slow release, everyone on the internet says to take it just once a day but the hospital I go to only provide 150mg pills.

Edited by koipond
I wrote ml instead of mg
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On 1/19/2020 at 10:42 PM, koipond said:

I'm curious to know if you take two 150 xl pills a day instead of one 300mg pill.

I mostly take one 300 mg pill, though I have taken two 150 mg pills the same day, for small spells of time. I don't really see any reason there should be much of a difference between the two modes, and in my experience it didn't appear to be any different really.

Hope you are feeling better. 

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Month #9

I mentioned in my last post that I had been looking into an alternative treatment. Well the day finally came that I went in for my first two ketamine infusions last week. The trips themselves were remarkable and quite a lot of fun, if I'm being honest. It also felt useful in terms of the "profound realizations" they provided, that stuck with me.

As far as "results", it's still pretty early. I would say the main thing I've noticed is that I have been sleeping fantastically well. I was already sleeping pretty well, once I started the Wellbutrin, but these last 5 nights have been some of the most profound rest I've gotten in the last decade. I'm also breathing slower, deeper. I noted my breathing during one of the infusions, and it was pretty clear to me that's the way I should be breathing all the time.

This may be crazy-talk, but it definitely "feels like" my brain is repairing itself even more.

I'm also hoping that ketamine means I may be able to quit Wellbutrin without taking a step backwards. I'm very thankful to Wellbutrin, and I will take it forever if I need to, but obviously if I can stop depending on any medicine, that's a great thing. So far, I've taken 150 mg (half my usual dose) for 3 days in a row, and I've felt exceedingly well. Though, that may change yet. 

It is still very early days, and I have no idea whether the ketamine treatments will prove to be good, bad or anywhere in between. Will continue to provide updates, either way.

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I should add that the standard ketamine treatment is 6 infusions over the first month, and single "booster" infusions that will hopefully become further and further spread out over time (ex: 1 month, then 2 months, etc.)

So, I am still in the absolute infancy of that treatment and do not yet have a realistic appraisal on how well it is, or is not, working for me.

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Gcac,  wondering if you've considered ADHD/ ADD?  Is that a possibility or has it been ruled out?  I remember you saying  that you thought you had dementia, meaning you most likely had or have executive function difficulties.  But it's also a symptom of depression.   What are your thoughts on that?  Is it ADD or depression?  Both of these conditions affect executive function in the brain.

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  • 2 months later...

Month #12

I guess I'm wrapping up my first year on Wellbutrin. As far as symptoms that resolved and symptoms that remain, those are the same as in my last few posts. Overall, I give my experience with Wellbutrin a B+. It has really helped, a lot, so I am thankful. The most blessed thing is that I don't feel like my brain is swollen anymore. I felt like my brain was swollen 24-7 for the previous dozen years, and it was awful. I don't feel that way anymore, or much less anyway. Also, my sleep is really, really solid. My anxiety is in normal ranges. I'm able to be a lot more "like me" again.

I'm using these new superpowers of partial normalcy to work on myself and implement new mental models and behaviors. So, I feel like I'm slowly becoming a new and better person. I hope that translates into eventually weaning from medication, but it's not my top priority at this juncture. Will probably be renewing Wellbutrin's lease for another year. 

I mentioned ketamine treatments. I did four infusions total, but was not able to do a complete course of treatment. It was very, very interesting. I am still interested in doing a full treatment to give it a chance and see what effects it has, but I have to figure out a way to do it locally. I had to make international travel to receive my four infusions, and that made it very difficult, not to mention expensive. 

On 1/31/2020 at 5:18 PM, Laura123 said:

Gcac,  wondering if you've considered ADHD/ ADD?  Is that a possibility or has it been ruled out?

No one has mentioned ADHD to me. But it feels like there must be some overlap between the two things. I understand Wellbutrin and Ritalin are both amphetamines, and sometimes there is overlap in the way Pdocs choose to prescribe those medicines. My checkered history with taking medications long-term puts makes me a bit wary of continuous medication. That's why I was/am interested in ketamine, because the draw is that it may help repair brain circuitry and it may also be of temporary intake.

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Hello gcac.  Been wondering how those treatments went.  Patiently waiting to hear about it.  🙂 Did it have any temporary effects even though not doing a full treatment?  

  A couple of questions I hope you don't mind me asking...  it's all out of curiosity.  First, you had mentioned early on when starting the ketamine treatments that you lowered the Wellbutrin to 150 mg.  How did that go?  

Second, you mentioned that the Wellbutrin took care of the brain swelling feeling.  Was there an explanation to that?  Was there actual brain swelling/inflammation?  And what would cause that??   And then how did the Wellbutrin help that issue?  What components/workings of Wellbutrin aided in making that symptom go away?    

Several years ago, when one of my kids was in sports, I read an article about head concussion and symptoms to watch out for.  This was before I was started on any SSRI treatment, but was having issues at that time.   As I read about the symptoms of concussion, I thought, THATS what I have.  That is what my head feels like all the time.   Now, I know that brain swelling is what causes the symptoms of a concussion.  So, this is why I asked about your mention of brain swelling.   It's obviously not a concussion that caused it.

Your summary of a year's worth of Wellbutrin is quite positive.    I've been inspired by your one step at a time improvements and continued work to progress.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

Hello gcac.  Been wondering how those treatments went.  Patiently waiting to hear about it.  🙂 Did it have any temporary effects even though not doing a full treatment?  

The treatments were really, really interesting. Overall, I enjoyed them a ton. You're basically tripping, something I had never done before. I think part of the therapeutic effect is just the tripping aspect (stereotypical stuff like love, connection to the universe, meaning, etc.) Yes, there were temporary effects. There is a marked silencing of all the "noise" in your brain in the days surrounding a treatment. It also seems to facilitate emotions. It is good, really good. Want to give it a fair chance. I may be moving to another country later this year, if so, I will for sure be doing a full treatment then. Ketamine seems like a low-risk, high reward thing to me. I think positive health benefits of BDNF release induced by ketamine can only be good for you. My sense is that even "healthy" people would benefit from that kind of treatment.

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

A couple of questions I hope you don't mind me asking

Not at all. 

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

when starting the ketamine treatments that you lowered the Wellbutrin to 150 mg.  How did that go?

This is not based on any science -- I was just concerned whether the Wellbutrin might reduce effectiveness of ketamine, so around the time of those treatments I reduced Wellbutrin intake. Not much to report back about it. I'm back at 300 mg again, so I guess I felt the need to return to that dosage at some point.

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

Second, you mentioned that the Wellbutrin took care of the brain swelling feeling.  Was there an explanation to that?  Was there actual brain swelling/inflammation?

I'm not a doctor, but the most basic way I understand depression now that I have read about it for 1+ years, is that it's primarily damage being caused by inflammation in the brain. Inflammation appears to be the most destructive force behind A LOT of illnesses -- it's even being implicated in Covid complications. So, feel pretty certain that I did indeed have inflammation in my brain. I believe most "depressed" people do. Whether that clinically qualifies as brain "swelling", I would guess maybe not, because I did have an MRI and CT scan in those years and they didn't turn up anything noteworthy. But swelling is the way it "feels" to the average Joe, like myself, trying to describe how it feels. And it's no wonder that inflammation and swelling are related.

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

What components/workings of Wellbutrin aided in making that symptom go away?    

I don't know exactly how it works, the catecholamine theory of depression is that messing with the Dopamine, Norepinephrine or Serotonin neurotransmitters helps somehow. I suspect somewhere along that chain, a reduction in inflammation is part of the process. Again, not a doctor, but yes a medical paper enthusiast.

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

That is what my head feels like all the time.

Exactly!! I always felt this way for 12 years! And I told every doctor for so many years, and they never seemed to be sure what I was talking about. I don't know how it wasn't more obvious! Either that, or I was totally blocked mentally from picking up on what the doctors were saying...

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

Your summary of a year's worth of Wellbutrin is quite positive.

Wellbutrin definitely helped. Finally being able to give the problem a face/name has helped. Working on myself has helped. 

On 4/23/2020 at 11:19 AM, Laura123 said:

I've been inspired by your one step at a time improvements and continued work to progress.

Thanks. I hope it's useful to somebody. Just felt like when I was looking to take the medicine, I couldn't find many good stories where the person taking the medicine kept you updated over a longer period of time.

Edited by gcac
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  • 5 months later...

Month #18

So, 1.5 years on Wellbutrin. I do feel that some of the benefits from Wellbutrin have slowly waned, as though my body has "adjusted" downward or increased its tolerance. Brain fog and that feeling of inflammation have partially returned. I feel pretty spacey and have a tough time focusing or comprehending things at times. My anxiety has ridden upwards too. I'm still sleeping through the night for the most part. It is a little frustrating. Will continue taking Wellbutrin for the time being, though I feel I need something more to feel like I'm operating at a satisfactory level. 

I did do a full series of treatments with ketamine, and even though it was a fascinating experience and I found some useful things came out of that experience, I don't think it will be a useful medicine for me to deal with ongoing depression/anhedonia. 

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  • 5 months later...

Hello, I found myself revisiting this forum to see how everyone is doing.  A lot has been going on this past year.  Blows my mind how quickly events are happening these days,  all over the world. 

 In my quest for normalcy, I tried a 4-week course of TMS (Nexstim) Nov./Dec..  I found that it helped while doing the treatments, but good effects stopped shortly after treatments stopped.  The doctor declared me in remission.  I may do another course in the fall after I meet my insurance deductible.  Like ketamine, it has beneficial effects.  My doctor thinks it would be a good treatment to use before a patient is started on antidepressants.  Many patients, if not most, still remain on their medications.  But it definitely helps, by stimulating or activating neurons in a specific part of the brain that in turn help strengthen connections in other parts of the brain.  It would be neat to have my own tms machine and just hook up to it every morning for 3 minutes. 🙂  

So, I think it's good you got started on some treatment at a relatively early age.  I was not put on medication until around age 54, when my brain apparently broke.  Then it took a lot of messing around until we found what worked and the correct dosages.  I wonder if you would benefit from adding an SSRI to the Wellbutrin to help round it out.  Maybe try something like buspirone, which has something to do with serotonin, yet it's not an ssri.  Of course I'm no doctor, but have been put on a variety of medications in the course of treatment.  I find that paxil at the higher dosages has a stimulating effect on my brain, I believe it's a norepinephrine effect or is it serotonin?  All I know is that I need both Wellbutrin and an ssri.

 

Edited by Laura123
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  • 1 month later...

Year #2

So, I guess it's time for an update. It's actually a little over 2 years now that I have been taking Wellbutrin. Basically, there are three monstrous benefits that have remained throughout the treatment:

  1. Sleeping solidly through the night. The importance of this cannot be understated. I used to wake up easily 3-4 nights a week with insomnia and it would be hours before I fell asleep again. There are so many health benefits that come from sleeping well, it really is broad reaching. 
  2. Resolution of anxiety. I absolutely lived with anxiety, ever present. Before Wellbutrin, I had been regularly taking Klonopin for seven years, but that stuff is like plugging a dam with a cork, it does not last very long, or fix the problem in a meaningful way. This has been different. I live with "normal" ranges of anxiety now. I still get anxious, when there is good reason for it, but I can control it through breathing and awareness. Game changer.
  3. Improvement of digestion. I don't know exactly how it works (though the stomach is full of neurotransmitters), or if this is a byproduct of one of the prior two benefits I mentioned, but there has been a significant improvement in my digestion. Once again, something that has a whole cascade of downstream health benefits.

There are things that have only resolved partially, or in some cases not at all. Those are some of the things I have mentioned in previous posts, and I feel they are mostly dopamine related: like brain fog, memory stuff, spatial coordination, libido, pleasure, appetite, interest and attention. So, still hoping to figure out a way to round those missing things into form. However, it would be the acme of foolishness not to appreciate the large improvements I have seen since beginning this treatment.

Of course, this was accompanied by other life changes, like exercising, working on my own psychology/spirituality, doing talk therapy, improving my relationships, becoming aware of some of the problems in my life that made me feel trapped and designing a ladder to start climbing out of the trap. Stuff like that, which will not be provided by any medication, ever. 

 

 

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