By Cami Tesch, Student Nurse

College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Unravelling the stigma of depression

Depression isn’t something that you can get over with the snap of your fingers. The condition is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The three main chemicals that are deficient are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, or, the happy hormones. It can be just the way the body is wired, and every single person is different. So, a person isn’t to blame if they are diagnosed. What a lot of people don’t know is there is a high rate of depression in the older adult population. Many people mistake depression for a common aging characteristic, but it’s not. Some people may have a slight decrease in energy, but depression is not a natural part of aging, and there is much a person can do to battle depression.

Is sadness the only symptom of depression?

One symptom of depression is decreased mood, and there are many more, including:

  • Loss of interest in things that gave you joy in the past
  • Decreased energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Emotional outbursts on a frequent basis
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Thoughts of harming yourself
  • Irritability

Is medication necessary for depression?

Even though there are several medications to help with depression, there are additional strategies that can help:

  • Exercise more to release endorphins that elevate mood.
  • Change diet to include more lean meats, fruits and vegetables to keep energized.
  • A consistent sleep routine helps with sleep disturbances.
  • Talk with someone: a family member, friend, or certified counselor.

The great thing about working with a certified counselor today is there are many ways to have your sessions. If you are not comfortable going into a facility, there are options to have a video chat session. You can have a counselling session in the comfort of your own home and may even feel more comfortable to share information.


Substance abuse and mental health services administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

This helpline is 100% free and confidential. You can call any time, day or night.

For more information on depression:


National helpline. (2021). Substance abuse and mental health services administration. Retrieved from:

Torres, F. (2020). What is depression. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from: