Singer and former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato, who has faced highly public battles with cocaine addiction, eating disorders and bipolar disorder, said Thursday that she is "finally . . . in a great place where I can say recovery is possible."
Speaking with Savannah Guthrie on "Today," Lovato, 22, said, "Mental illnesses in general are . . . not talked about as much as they should [be]. I would love for people to become more educated." Recently hired as a spokeswoman for Be Vocal, an information and resource partnership of five mental-health organizations and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, the singer-actress said, "It's not a choice to have an addiction. And with bipolar disorder, it's a chemical imbalance and it's something that you have to figure out your own treatment with, with your own team. And in order to do that, it takes time."
She continues to have good days and bad days, she said. "On the days that are harder, I just [remember] there's this saying called: 'Play the record forward.' So, like, if I ever want to pick up and drink or use [drugs], I have to . . . play it out and imagine, like, 'Well, what would happen if I did that?' "
The "Heart Attack" singer additionally told People magazine, in the issue being published Friday, "My father had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as well, and I watched him live a very unfortunate life because of the lack of access to treatment." Calling the issue "very personal to me," she added, "I just think mental illness is something people need to learn more about and the stigma needs to be taken away from."
Patrick Lovato, from whom his daughter had been estranged since 2007, died in 2013 at age 54.