Demi Lovato Reveals Her Personal Challenges With Overcomming Addiction

May 18th 2016

Laura Donovan

Six years after she publicly entered rehab for a variety of mental and emotional issues, Demi Lovato remains as vocal as ever about the challenges in her life.

In an exclusive interview with Refinery29, Lovato explained that she still faces the struggles of a recovering addict.

She said that she's had to exchange club adventures for TV nights with long-time boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama, stressing that going out could cause her to relapse. Last year, Lovato told Cosmopolitan that she suffered relapses after finishing treatment.

“I had to learn the hard way that I can’t do parties anymore,” she told Refinery29. “Some people can go out and not be triggered, but that’s not the case for me.”

Though hanging out with her boyfriend and dog at home is a stark contrast to her former life as a party goer, she said that she's better off around those who value her health.

“I know [my life] sounds so boring,” she continued. “But I’ve come to a place where I’d rather be relaxed than get all dressed up and go to some party or club with people who don’t really care about my well-being at all.”


A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

In 2010, Lovato famously left the Jonas Brothers tour early to start treatment for cutting, an eating disorder, and drug addiction. During rehab, she learned that she also suffers from bipolar disorder.


A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Even movie night as an addict has its own set of obstacles.

Lovato told Refinery29 that she couldn't bring herself to watch the documentary "Amy," which is about the late singer Amy Winehouse, who battled an eating disorder and addiction as well.

“To see white powder in a movie?” Lovato said, shaking her head. “To see someone shooting up? It’s too triggering. If I feel even 1 percent unsure that I’m in a place where I can watch it, then I just don’t do it.”

It's not uncommon for recovering addicts to relapse at least once, according to the treatment center, Promises.

Dr. James Garbutt, a professor in the University of North Carolina department of psychiatry and researcher for the university's Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, told Everyday Health in 2012 that people with bipolar disorders and schizophrenia are especially vulnerable to alcohol addiction relapse. Lovato said in 2014 that she believed her late father, Patrick was bipolar-schizophrenic.

“People with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are at a much greater risk of alcohol addiction relapse," Garbutt told Everyday Health. "As many as 50 percent of those with bipolar disorder also have an alcohol or drug addiction.”

Dr. Garbutt added that both happy occasions and negative life changes can cause someone with addiction to relapse. Seeing other people drinking and having fun at a party can trigger relapses, he said, and life setbacks can also make people relapse.

“Risk factors are very much individualized,” Dr. Stephen Gilman, an addiction specialist, told the publication. “When addicts are overwhelmed by external triggers, such as losing a job, problems with their spouse, or even bad weather for a couple of days, they can relapse.”

Check out the full Refinery29 interview here.

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