Demi Lovato admits 'I was left with brain damage' following her 2018 overdose

Singer Demi Lovato reveals she suffered three strokes and a heart attack as she opens up on the long-term effects of her overdose in new documentary

Singer Demi Lovato performs the national anthem prior to Super Bowl LIV between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
(Image credit: Tom Pennington / Staff Getty)

Singer Demi Lovato has revealed she has been left with brain damage following her 2018 overdose which caused her to have three strokes and a heart attack.

Three years on from the terrifying ordeal, Demi, 28, has taken part in a documentary called Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, to open up about the near-fatal drug overdose that has had lasting effects on her life.

YouTube premiered the trailer for the show, giving fans the first look into what the 28-year-old songstress faced after she was hospitalized. Speaking alongside director Michael D. Ratner at the documentary's Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday (17th February), Demi recalled the effects the overdose had on her body physically and on her life, emotionally.

She said, "I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with the effects of that today. I don't drive a car, because I have blind spots on my vision. And I also for a long time had a really hard time reading. It was a big deal when I was able to read out of a book, which was like two months later because my vision was so blurry."

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Demi, who has been open about her struggles with substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders in the past, hit headlines in 2018 when she reportedly overdosed at her Hollywood home on 24th July.

After being discharged from the hospital, she had to be re-admitted after she subsequently suffered severe “complications” from her reported overdose. At the time of her recovery, Demi wrote an Instagram post that read, 'I now need time to focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you all have shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out of this on the other side.'

Demi had celebrated six years of sobriety but her single Sober revealed a confession that she had relapsed with the lyrics, 'Momma I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And Daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober.”

Having dealt with "a lot of repercussions", Demi admitted they still act as a reminder to her of what could happen should she ever get into a "dark place" again.

She added, "I'm grateful for those reminders, but I'm so grateful that I was someone that didn't have to do a lot of rehabbing. The rehabbing came on the emotional side."

But despite her harrowing ordeal, she admitted to People that she "wouldn't change a thing" about the aftermath of the overdose. "Everything had to happen in order for me to learn the lessons that I learned," she said. "It was a painful journey, and I look back and sometimes I get sad when I think of the pain that I had to endure to overcome what I have, but I don't regret anything."

She added, "I'm so proud of the person I am today. And I'm so proud that people get to see it in this documentary and I couldn't be more grateful that I had someone by my side."

In the trailer Demi's friends and family - including her mother and step-father, along with her sister - talk about the grueling moments that led up to her overdose and what happened afterward.

There is also unseen footage of Demi filmed throughout the last year, including before her called-off engagement to Max Ehrich. 

The documentary premieres on 23rd March on YouTube. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. Or if you're in the UK, call Recovery for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice on 0203 553 0324.

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.