Kara DioGuardi

American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi revealed for the first time her treatment for an eating disorder.

"I've never spoken about this.... I had kind of a binge eating disorder where instead of dealing with my emotions, I would stuff them down with food," she told Extra. "I never threw up or starved myself."

DioGuardi said she went to a treatment center to help her with her illness, which stemmed in part from insecurity.

"It was definitely that excess eating to ... just stuff all the emotions down.... I really was a creative kid who didn't know she was creative and didn't have those outlets because I was always afraid to join the theater group," she explained.

Later, DioGuardi's professional pursuits helped her move on from the disorder and find her niche.

"The moment I started doing music, the moment I did what I loved to do in my life and committed to it, I don't have those problems anymore," she said. "I have my outlet. I have that form of expression."

DioGuardi is now helping others find their outlet. The songwriter built a recording studio at Phoenix House, a Los Angeles area treatment center for young, recovering addicts.

"It's real[ly] therapeutic," she said.