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Demi Lovato talks about her mental illness

The singer acknowledges her struggle with bipolar disorder and wants others with mental illness to share their stories

By Andrea Tim | Published: 8 Oct 2015

Demi on her illness
Photo: TPG Images

Demi Lovato was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 19 when she went to rehab for addiction and eating disorders. Now a spokesperson for Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health, Demi aims to spread awareness about mental health, an issue which is particularly prominent now because of the recent shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College that killed nine people. The Be Vocal initiative also encourages people with mental health to share their stories.

"I knew at a young age that some of my behaviors were a problem," the 23-year-old told ELLE.com in an interview after her Q&A at the National Council of Behavioral Health's Hill Day in Washington D.C. "When I was bulimic, I knew it was a problem. When I was anorexic, I knew it was a problem. But I wasn't in a place where I could quit by myself."

She even admitted that she experienced suicidal thoughts as early as seven years old. Her shaky teen years – which involved violent lash-outs and eating disorders – eventually lead up to a meltdown that prompted her to check into rehab.

"So when I was diagnosed, I went back and told my manager and my parents and my closest friends. I was like, 'Hey, so I'm bipolar …that's why…'" she added. "You know, entering rehab while you're on the Disney Channel, it was kind of like, everything was magnified, in the spotlight. It's quite the headline. And I couldn't get around it. So I thought, you know, I can use this to help others. And that's what I did."

Related: 7 facts we learned about Demi Lovato
Related: Selena Gomez opens up about being diagnosed with lupus


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