To stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, some groups of coworkers, friends, and families set up regular Zoom happy hours. And as bars and restaurants temporarily shuttered, consumers began ordering wine and spirits online, sometimes in bulk.
Isolation, disruptions to routine, and anxieties about the future can pose challenges for people who have struggled with excessive alcohol use in the past and can even trigger a new problem. What’s more, substance-use disorders can suppress the immune system, making people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol more vulnerable to COVID-19.
To dig deeper into how the pandemic has affected people’s relationship with alcohol, Penn Today reached out to Edwin Kim, medical director of Penn Medicine’s Charles O’Brien Center for Addiction Treatment to share what he’s been seeing during the past few months.
Edwin Kim is medical director of the Charles O’Brien Center for Addiction Treatment at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.