Picks and Pans Review: Her Bipolar Life

updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

• Wasted, her memoir about anorexia, made Marya Hornbacher a bestselling author at 23. Now 34, she's back with Madness, a harrowing tale of the bipolar disorder she was finally diagnosed with in '97—and from which she believes she suffered as early as age 4.

ARE ANOREXIA AND BIPOLAR CONNECTED? People tend to use eating disorders as home-grown mood stabilizers, like I did. More and more I meet people diagnosed with bipolar after an eating-disorder diagnosis.

YOU HAVE "ULTRA-RAPID CYCLING BIPOLAR"—WHAT'S THAT? Major mood swings, all day long. Drugs help, but I consider it a good year if I'm only hospitalized once.

HOW CAN YOU TELL YOU NEED TO BE? I feel so out of control that I don't feel safe anymore. But with the help of friends and my husband, Jeff, it's been more and more possible to battle it at home.

WERE YOU REALLY BIPOLAR AT 4? It was thought of as adults-only until about 1990, but I had attacks of fear, then phases of frenzy. Now children are being diagnosed and treated. That's a very good thing.

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