Lauren Alaina's Voice Was Almost Ruined By Her Eating Disorder

American Idol alum Lauren Alaina is opening up about a battle she's been fighting since she was 11 years old. Like many artists, she has spoken about her personal battles through her music, but now she's also taking the chance to speak directly on the subject, including in a new interview with People magazine where she reveals how her eating disorder almost destroyed her singing voice.

Alaina, who felt increased pressure after appearing on American Idol at 15, began purging more as the criticism of her appearance increased. She got increasingly sick as her bones protruded and her hair fell out. But according to the country singer, it wasn't until her bulimia began to threaten her passion and career that she found the strength to seek treatment.

"Honestly, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten better if it hadn’t affected my vocal cords," Alaina, now 22, told People. "I had really bad polyps on my vocal cords, and I’ve had them since I was a kid, but the bulimia made it 10 times worse. They were bleeding constantly and it was straining on my voice. And just the lack of nutrition — my vocal cords couldn’t keep up because I was so unhealthy."

When she was 18, a doctor stressed that she could actually lose her singing voice, and Alaina realized what was at stake. "That was the first time it kind of clicked for me,”"she said. "It wasn’t my hair falling out, it wasn’t my bones sticking out too much, it was my voice. When they told me that my voice was going to go away, I think that really got to me." She finally sought help.

These days, Alaina is feeling "way better," she told People. She is now focused on healthful eating and exercising habits. "Had I not gotten better, I may not have this album now, I may not have this music. I can't imagine."

While everybody with an eating disorder has a different path to wellness, Alaina believes that self-love and self-care was her key to recovery — and she wants young people who may be struggling to know that. "You’re the only you you have, so you have to be good to yourself. When you’re not good to yourself, you’re not good to others. And if you need help, get it — it’s worth it."
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
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