COVER STORY SNEAK PEEK: Britney's Mental Illness
01/10/2008 AT 01:30 PM EST
As the drama rapidly unfolds, the questions seemed to be: How did the once-sparkling singer with the homespun charm and earnest enthusiasm fall so far, and so hard – and what can be done to help her?
Several sources say the events are the results of a long-gestating mental illness. "She's suffered from a psychological disease for years," says a source close to the singer. Two separate sources close to Spears believe she has been diagnosed as bipolar, while additional sources confirm she has been prescribed at least one antidepressant/anti-anxiety drug.
Yet "she does not think she has a problem," says a source close to Spears. Dr. Mark Goulston, a Santa Monica-based psychiatrist who has not treated Spears, points out that "manic behavior is when you don't have any sense of rules. There's a grandiosity: 'I play by my own rules.' "
For more on this story, including Britney's behavior while in the hospital, and ex-husband Kevin Federline's reaction to the situation, pick up the new PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday