As we did in looking at suicide risk, we can divide the risk factors for harming someone else into those things that can be changed (dynamic) and those that remain the same (static). If someone has a history of violent behavior toward others, that’s a strong predictor that he has the capability to commit violence again in the future. Similarly, it’s well known that young men are at the highest statistical risk for committing a violent act. Because a person’s history, gender, and age cannot be changed, these are static factors.
Dynamic factors include the current mood state, if someone is severely depressed, manic, or in a mixed episode, treatment is critical. So too can the use of drugs and alcohol, psychotic symptoms, ready access to weapons, an unstable living environment, and homelessness be addressed. The single greatest risk for committing violence, and this holds true whether or not a person has bipolar disorder, is the active use of alcohol and/or drugs.