Stress related to the recent COVID-19 shutdown measures has impacted everyone. Masks, social distancing, and being cut off from family and friends have many people reporting feeling isolated. Substance use disorder is a disease that thrives in isolation.

The isolation of social distancing has led people to find different methods of coping. Those in recovery during the pandemic may have been cut off from their usual support systems and forced to turn to virtual solutions. Some may have taken up unhealthy habits to cope. Others may have even tried to go at it alone.

While it is natural to try to find comfort in familiar habits during times of stress, many people have developed unhealthy habits in isolation. Numerous studies from around the country and world are showing increases in alcohol consumption since the COVID-19 shutdown. Preliminary data from the CDC shows that from June 2019 to May 2020, the highest number of overdoses ever was recorded, with more than 81 thousand deaths. This number only accounts for a small fraction of the pandemic. More is yet to be told.

As infection rates decline and places reopen, many people are now experiencing a new fear of re-entry anxiety related to the prospect of resuming normal social interactions. For those struggling with a substance use disorder, fear of stigma or judgment may be an added layer to this stress. Although this anxiety may make reaching out for help seem daunting, human connection and support are the best tools in the fight against problems with substance use disorders. At CleanSlate, we understand the anxiety of entering treatment and the fear of encountering stigma. Many of our providers are also in recovery and work hard to create a safe, judgment-free space.

We offer medication-assisted treatment along with mental and behavioral health support that focuses on caring for the whole person. This means we help patients achieve and maintain recovery from a substance use disorder while also working to support how they feel mentally and emotionally. We know substance use disorders and mental health conditions often go hand in hand as co-occurring disorders. Our integrated care model helps patients address underlying mental and behavioral health issues that may contribute to their substance use, such as anxiety and depression.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder or feeling hesitant about seeking treatment, know that a supportive recovery community can have a significant impact. There is hope and we’re here to help. Visit to find a treatment center near you.

William Davis

William Davis is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor and is Director of Recovery Support Services at CleanSlate.