Q&A: Is it possible an 8 year old diagnosed with bipolar disorder could harm another child?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

If you have and 8 year old son who has been diagnosed with potential bipolar it possible that he could harm another child

- Laura


James S. Anthony, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist -

Simply having the diagnosis of bipolar disorder does not by itself make one likely to harm another.  That being said, anything is possible.  The question really is how probable is it that the 8 year old boy will harm another child.  The harm may be psychological, physical, or sexual.  A good link that addresses sexual harm is as follows:
Getting back to the probabilities of harming another child, if this 8 year old has harmed children in the past or is angry and acting out, then there may be a greater likelihood that, given similar circumstances, this child might harm another.  Other factors to consider are history of abuse and neglect, and current levels of support and control.  If you have more specifics, it would be best to review these with a competent mental health professional. 

--James S. Anthony, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
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