According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 17 million adults ages 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and continue to struggle with alcohol every day.
While drinking in moderation may not have long-term implications, repeat heavy drinking could transition into dependence, alcoholism, and the onset of health complications like hypertension.
While alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction may seem interchangeable, they are not the same. Alcohol abuse refers to frequent overconsumption of alcohol, while alcohol addiction is the inability to stop consuming alcohol.
Often alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol addiction and create a cycle of dependence and health complications along the way.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
At what point does drinking in moderation cross the line and become alcohol abuse? By definition, drinking in moderation is described as no more than a single drink for women per day, and no more than two drinks a day for men.
One alcoholic drink is measured as:
- 1.5 ounces of liquor (like whiskey, rum, or tequila)
- 5 ounces of wine
- 12 ounces of beer
Problem drinking occurs when this number increases either daily or weekly.
The Risks Of Hypertension And Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol use and abuse can result in hypertension. Hypertension is higher than normal blood pressure.
This means that a person with hypertension is experiencing excessive pressure on their artery walls that can damage blood vessels and organs in your body.
The longer the hypertension is uncontrolled, the greater the damage. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to many complications, including:
- heart attack or stroke
- heart failure
- weakened and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys
- thickened, closed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes
- metabolic syndrome
- the trouble with memory or understanding
If identified and treated early, hypertension can be temporary. However, in situations where chronic alcohol abuse is present, it can cause some serious damage.
How Is Hypertension Treated?
A lifestyle change is the first step to take toward controlling your high blood pressure. To help lower your blood pressure naturally, a doctor may recommend the following lifestyle changes, such as:
- incorporate a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet
- engage in regular physical activity
- maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
- limit or stop consuming alcohol
Sometimes, lifestyle changes may not be enough. If a person’s blood pressure is too high, treatment options may include a variety of medications geared towards decreasing blood pressure.
Some popular drugs prescribed to help lower blood pressure are:
- Thiazide diuretics
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
Taking drugs to reduce hypertension caused by alcohol abuse will help with hypertension symptoms, but it will not cure the underlying problem of hypertension caused by alcohol abuse.
If your hypertension is caused by alcohol abuse, it is strongly encouraged to seek alcohol addiction treatment. Alcohol abuse can cause serious long-term complications, and if not treated immediately, they can be life-threatening.
Addiction Treatment at Vertava Health Texas
No matter how much someone misuses alcohol, there is always treatment available to assist you in stopping alcohol use and abuse.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and are concerned about the health implications of long-term drinking, there are several treatment options to consider.
Vertava Health Texas offers medically supervised detox programs that can help individuals safely and comfortably withdraw from alcohol.
Our addiction treatment center also offers customized inpatient programs so individuals can easily transition from detox to a formal treatment program.
Vertava Health Texas, our staff is always available to discuss alcohol abuse and addiction treatment options with you and your family. Contact us today, and we can work with you to find a solution that works best for everyone.