NEW YORK-MAR 16: Actress Zoe Kravitz attends the U.S. premiere oZoe Kravitz, the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, is just starting to make a name for herself in Hollywood but people shouldn’t assume that her talented pedigree has prevented her from struggling in life.  In fact, she relied on some of her darker times as she prepared to take on the role of a woman battling anorexia in the independent film, The Road Within.

The 26-year-old actress explained: “I struggled with an eating disorder in high school and into my early 20s. That’s part of what actually attracted me to the role; I think it’s really important to talk about body image and the struggles a lot of women have with food—especially in the entertainment industry. I related to her in a lot of ways.”

For the film, the emerging actress had to drop down to 90 pounds which sparked memories of her own experience with an eating disorder. She discussed how difficult the transition was: “Losing all the weight—I’ve never done anything like that before. I put my body through so much and at first it was really hard to even have a conversation because I was so lightheaded all the time. On top of just being tired, I had to try and perform, so it was very unique experience.  I lost like 20 pounds, so I was 90 pounds while we filmed. I tried to do it in a healthy way, but it’s not a healthy thing to do—I would never tell anyone to lose that amount of weight and especially not that quickly. I basically did a cleanse and was drinking pureed vegetables and tea, and running every day.”

In a separate interview, she also expressed how scary this transformation was. She told Complex magazine: “You could see my ribcage. I was just trying to lose more weight for the film, but I couldn’t see: ‘You’re there. Stop.’ It was scary.”

It absolutely is scary. The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder in their lifetime.  Even more terrifying is the fact that a review of nearly 50 years of research has shown that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, consider reaching out to the Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for more information about treatment options and how you can raise awareness of this important issue.