Demi Lovato Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is opening up for the first time about her battles with her life-long eating disorder that landed her in rehab last year.

In an interview with Seventeen, obtained by Radar, the 18-year-old actress says, "I don't think there's going to be a day when I don't think about food or my body... But I will deal with it for the rest of my life because it's a life-long disease."

VIDEO: Demi Lovato thanks fans, excited to get back to work

On Nov. 1, Lovato canceled her worldwide tour to seek medical treatment for what her rep called "issues she battled throughout her life." The Disney star left the treatment facility in January and returned to Los Angeles.

Lovato admits it took an intervention to get her to seek help. "I basically had a nervous breakdown. I was really bad off," she says. "My parents and manager pulled me aside and said, 'You need to get some help.' It was an intervention. I wanted freedom from the inner demons. I wanted to start my life over."

Catch up on more of today's news

Now the Camp Rock star is giving advice for how others can get through similar struggles. "If you are going through that dark period, go to your family and closest friends. Don't put yourself in danger," she says.

Ready to return to work, Lovato says she's at peace.

"I allow myself a lot of freedom and I'm very peaceful now," she says. "I have come to realize that just making yourself happy is most important. Never be ashamed of what you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion that you want, and to do what makes you happy. That's my life motto."