Christine Stapleton, over at the Psychology Central blog, hypothesizes from various undisclosed data that 88 percent of the US population either will suffer from a major depression, has alcoholism, or is “profoundly affected” by someone who is suffering from alcoholism or depression. Problem is, those numbers don’t seem to be based in reality.

1. There is, unsurprisingly, a strong connection between depression and alcoholism. That means that the depressed and the alcoholic are not entirely isolated populations.

2. Ms. Stapleton does not explain where she found her “3X” multiplier to calculate those affected by someone else with alcoholism or depression. Granting its truth for purposes of discussion, might we speculate that some of those “affected” people might themselves be alcoholic or depressed?

My point is not to diminish the tragedy of depression, alcoholism, or its effects on others. It is instead to advocate care in addressing these issues. They are real problems. No one, however, gains by either overstatement or ambiguity.

If anyone, including Ms. Stapleton, is aware of underlying data either supporting or refuting Ms. Stapleton’s post, please let me know.

[This revised version catches a typo or two.]