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Demi Lovato reveals her diagnosis of bipolar disorder

Demi Lovato reveals she struggles with bipolar disorder Demi Lovato, who last week tweeted her support for Catherine Zeta-Jones' "brave" decision to be treated for bipolar II disorder, revealed that she too is bipolar.

The 18-year-old Disney actress discovered her diagnosis during her three-month stay at a rehabilitation center in Illinois, where she was treated for anorexia, bulimia and cutting.

"I never found out until I went into treatment that I was bipolar," Lovato told People. "Looking back it makes sense. There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I'd be up until 5:30 in the morning."

Lovato has recently opened up about what she calls "the darkest time" in her life, discussing in depth her struggles with self-mutilation and eating disorders.

In an interview that will air Friday on "Good Morning America" and "20/20," Lovato said her lifelong depression wreaked havoc on her body.

"[Cutting] was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body," Lovato said in the interview. "I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn't know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself."

Lovato also said she was bullied at school, and discussed her decadelong "unhealthy relationship with food," saying she started compulsively overeating when she was only 8 years old and later began starving herself.

"I was performing concerts on an empty stomach," she said. "I was losing my voice from purging. I was self-medicating. I was not taking medication for depression, and I literally was so emotionally whacked-out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me."

Lovato blew up and punched a backup dancer while on tour in South America with the Jonas Brothers. It was, she told Seventeen, a nervous breakdown.

"I was really bad off," she said. "My parents and manager pulled me aside and said, 'You need to get some help.' It was an intervention. I wanted freedom from the inner demons. I wanted to start my life over."

Post-rehab, Lovato is leaving the cast of "Sonny With a Chance" -- saying that being in front of a camera would hinder her recovery -- and focusing on her music career.

Though the darkest time in her life may be past, Lovato said she would always struggle with those disorders.

"I feel like I am in control now where my whole life I wasn't in control," she told People. "What's important for me now is to help others."

Lovato is writing articles on Seventeen's website, and she joined the Jed Foundation for "Love Is Louder Than the Pressure to Be Perfect," a project that aims to help reduce suicide and emotional distress among teen girls and college students.

"If you are going through that dark period, go to your family and closest friends," Lovato told Seventeen. "Don't put yourself in danger. It's very crucial that you get your feelings out -- but don't ever inflict harm on your own body because your body is so sacred. I wish I could tell every young girl with an eating disorder, or who has harmed herself in any way, that she's worthy of life and that her life has meaning.

"You can overcome and get through anything."


Demi Lovato won't return to 'Sonny With a Chance' [Poll]

Demi Lovato thanks fans for support during 'darkest time of my life' [Video]

Demi Lovato opens up about eating disorders, cutting; tweets about heading back to studio

— Noelene Clark

Photo: Demi Lovato at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2010. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (9)

As the mother of a daughter who has bipolar 1 disorder, I sympathize with Demi Lovato and Catherine Zeta Jones but congratulate them for speaking out about this mental disorder. My daughter started having symptoms as a teenager and we went through many years of struggle, wrong diagnoses and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get her well. Finally, a place in Orange CA called The Oasis was the answer for her. She became compliant with her medication, accepted therapy and returned to the intelligent, beautiful person she had stopped being for so long. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is the best place to look for answers; they have resources nationwide and are helping remove the stigma of mental disorders. It's heartening to see celebrities speak openly about bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. We need to keep the conversation going and make the public aware that bipolar disorder is no different from diabetes, cancer or any other illness.

Any more people coming out with an emotional disorder? stress? unable to cope? easy to blame it on something with a name. Watch out for the meds. Side affects coming up soon.

actually it is very different than physical ailments and that is why it is treated differently. Some cancers are " treatable" meaning you may actually get rid of it...many keep coming back so treatment comes and goes. Diabetes is basically controlled by drugs like mental illness. As long as you take your meds, you are under control but also a regimen of healthy diet, exercise and weight control makes a huge difference. That by the way, is also very important for mental health. To keep in balance, the body needs structure as mental health depends on it. Many people show signs of anxiety, instability, emotional disorders when they have poor diet, not enough rest and feel confused. All of these are normal under certain conditions. A diagnosis may be a quick commodity...and so are the prescribed drugs.

Niki, you sound like one of those nuts who think that people should never take medication for mental disorders. Well, you're wrong. Some mental illnesses are only treatable through medication. Medication isn't always a bad thing. A lot of times it's beneficial and absolutely necessary. And, no, you can't get rid of mental illness by eating right and exercising like you seem to be implying.

I too am Bipolar. Would not wish this mental illness on my worst enemy.

Bipolar disorder is more common than most people think. I had a loved one who was diagnosed with it back in 2005, but thanks to getting the help she needed then, she is doing much better now. Perhaps with these two famous people speaking out on the topic, more everyday people will get the courage to get the help they need.

Wow, I am reading this alongside my pre-teen nephew who is a fan and I'm both shocked and happy. I'd heard nothing about her blow up, so that's shocking/ But I'm happy that this young actress has gotten the help she needs and that she can be an example, not just for girls, but for all pre-teens and teens as well. Having dealt with depression as a teen myself which is still a continuous battle, it would have been great if someone would have noticed earlier. I want my nephews and nieces to know they can talk about this stuff with us. I commend Demi.

A study came out a few years back indicating that more than 50% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder turn out not to have it.

I am also bipolar and would like people to be aware that this disease can also be hereditary.I have a grandmother,aunt,second cousin,great uncle,and two daughters all who suffer with this illness.


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