Family therapist Andrew Levander, specialist in self injury, said, "It is the need to manage, to have some mastery or control over. Eating disorder and self-injury are closely related, they are like cousins."
Her condition is said to be linked to a variety of sources: stress, anxiety, unstable relationships, conflicts with self image, and a demanding career.
Lovato's spokesperson said, "Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions and seek help. She is doing just that."
The 18-year-old is an acknowledged victim of bullying, which can lead to a disorder when only the negative barbs are remembered.
On top of "Camp Rock 2", she has her sitcom "Sonny with a Chance" and the Jonas Brothers concert tour. Her reported break-up with Joe Jonas didn't help.
There is no word on how much time Lovato will need to recover. She has cancelled the rest of her concert tour with the Jonas Brothers, who are continuing the tour.