Demi Lovato's reported overdose is a sign we need to take addiction more seriously

The singer has been outspoken about her mental health difficulties for years.

By: Jonah Waterhouse

Warning: This report contains potentially triggering content.

When reports of Demi Lovato's hospitalisation for an apparent drug overdose surfaced this morning, shocked messages of love and support immediately poured out from celebrities and fans alike.

Many saw the situation as out-of-left-field — with the 25-year-old performer appearing stable over the past few months, and even performing sober at a concert in California only days ago.

But while her recent medical emergency may come as a shock to some, it's no secret that Demi has experienced a wildly fluctuating mental state ever since childhood; something she hasn't been shy about disclosing for years.


From her career beginnings as a young Disney Channel starlet to now, Demi has made her mental health issues clear in a bevy of interviews and social media posts. She's talked about her struggles with anxiety, depression, drug addiction, bipolar disorder and self-harm, even saying in 2011 she chose to self-harm by cutting as a distraction from her rampant anxiety.

"I cut myself to take my mind off [anxiety]. I just didn't care what happened. I had no fear."

Her struggles with mental health and drug addiction are something she's shared in her documentary, Simply Complicated, which was released by YouTube Originals in 2017.

Not only was Demi acclaimed for releasing the film online for free, but was also praised for her vulnerability, openness, and willingness to discuss serious mental health issues that are often thought of as taboo by the entertainment industry.

Though her efforts to spread awareness about mental health were praised, her history of mental illness often reared its ugly head — leading her to contemplate relapse on a handful of occasions.

Earlier this year, a then-sober Demi revealed a bullying incident from another celebrity at the 2016 Met Gala brought her dangerously close to relapse, saying "I remember being so uncomfortable that I wanted to drink". She attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting immediately after the world-famous gala, telling Billboard "I related more to the homeless people in that meeting who struggled with the same struggles that I deal with than the people at the Met Gala — fake and sucking the fashion industry's d--k."

Demi pictured at the 2016 Met Gala with Nicki Minaj and Jeremy Scott.

Therefore, when Demi painfully admitted she'd relapsed in her song 'Sober' (released in June this year), plenty of her fans were saddened, but unsurprised. And when TMZ reported the starlet's hospitalisation this morning, it appeared to many as a painful cry for help from one of the industry's most troubled stars.

Our fame-obsessed world has remained complicit in the addiction-related passings of too many celebrities; from Amy Winehouse in 2011 to Cory Monteith in 2013. And while society in 2018 is much more sympathetic than in the past (think of how Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were genuinely ridiculed by media and fans for their addiction issues), Demi's current situation is a bitter reminder that society needs to take addiction more seriously — instead of living in blissful ignorance, until another "nobody saw that coming" scenario rattles us all.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.