Demi Lovato rehab over: Singer said to have battled self-injury

Demi Lovato sighting on January 28, 2011 in Santa Monica, California. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Demi Lovato in Santa Monica, Calif. on January 28, 2011.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

(CBS) Friends and family are key to recovery during rehab, and nobody knows that better than Demi Lovato. The 18-year-old Disney star made her first formal appearance since coming out of rehab in late January, thanking her fans for their support in an online video.

Just what was Levato in rehab for? A source close to Lovato's family said she had "fought through eating disorders and has struggled with cutting," People magazine reported.

Why is Disney star seeking help?

Cutting, burning, and other forms of "self-injury" aren't the same as attempting suicide, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Rather, self-injury is something some people - mostly teenage girls - do to cope with intense anger, frustration, and other difficult emotions.

Self-injury often goes hand in hand with other psychological problems, including depression and eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. As many as 10 million girls and women suffer from these disorders, says the National Eating Disorder Association.

Eating disorders and self-injury are commonly treated with family counseling, nutrition education, medication and - if necessary - hospitalization, according to the Mayo Clinic. Parents, siblings and close friends play a key role in helping with recovery.

Luckily for Lovato, she had the support not only of friends and family, but also legions of adoring fans.

  • Ann Binlot

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