Unbeknownst to her loyal fans, the actress-singer-songwriter, who became a teen idol after starring in the Camp Rock movies on the Disney Channel, had problems related to anorexia, bulimia and cutting (self-injury). In November 2010, Lovato ended her tour with the Jonas Brothers early to enter a three-month treatment program for physical and emotional issues, where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She admits to having felt plagued by depression since childhood, and says she suffered verbal bullying in middle school -- so much so that she chose to be homeschooled and received a high school diploma that way.
“Being bullied is devastating to adolescents,” says Carol Landau, Ph.D., iVillage wellness expert and a clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I. “In middle school, social standing is a top priority, and being humiliated and bullied on a daily basis is incredibly stressful.” Landau feels strongly that teachers and school administrators should see bullying as unacceptable. “Schools need to be safe, and children like Demi Lovato should not have to be homeschooled in order to escape,” she adds. “Otherwise we are exposing our children to unnecessary, serious stress that can trigger depression.”