Info: Fear of Harm

Information on Fear of Harm


Fear of Harm (which is often referred to as FOH) is a newly identified phenotype of Bipolar Disorder. Research sponsored by the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation (JBRF), and headed by Dr. Demitri Papolos, lead to the publication of the first paper on this new phenotype in 2009: Fear of Harm, a Possible Phenotype of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Dimensional Approach to Diagnosis for Genotyping Psychiatric Syndromes (Journal of Affective Disorders). This article outlined the new phenotype and their findings on it, which indicated that there were possibly more than 250,000 children and nearly 2 million adults in the US alone with this new disorder. 


Since 2005 Dr. Papolos and his team of researchers, sponsored by JBRF, have published a dozen articles on childhood onset Bipolar Disorder, Fear of Harm, and its groundbreaking biological marker – temperature dysregulation. These papers explain the symptoms and treatments that have been uncovered.


CMHRC’s founder and executive director, Elizabeth Errico, worked closely with JBRF researchers for more than three years as they honed the proposed diagnostic criteria and investigated both medicinal and non-medication based treatments for this unique disorder. CMHRC’s education, outreach, advocacy, and support programs on Fear of Harm incorporate these cutting edge published journal articles. Our expert staff are able to provide parents with information about this disorder, as well as symptom management strategies, in clear, easy to understand, layman’s language. 


Become a member of CMHRC to access our one of a kind specialized programs and services for families living with Fear of Harm.


By becoming a member of CMHRC you gain access to our ever expanding resource library with videos, articles, and parent testimonials as well as access to our family support groups and professional development tools. With membership you’ll also have access to discounts on our mental health/community advocacy services where we support you in communicating with your child’s medical and mental healthcare providers to ensure they have the most accurate and up-to-date information so they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. 

Whether your a family member or a professional CMHRC’s membership resources will give you the information you need to be able to manage these disorders at home, at school, and in the community. 


Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Fear of Harm*


*”Fear of Harm” is the commonly used term to describe a newly identified phenotype of bipolar disorder. Its official name is likely to change if/when it is included in the DSM, but it remains known within the community as “Fear of Harm” or FOH for short.

The video below, “Mood Disorder First Aid: Managing Temperature Disruptions”, explains tools and strategies that can be used immediately, at home, with no prescription, in order to combat the impact of temperature dysregulation on mood stability and the temperature driven symptoms of FOH. 

The 6 Dimension of the Fear of Harm (FOH) Phenotype (below) were developed by Dr. Demitri Papolos and his research team (sponsored by the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation) during the decade long investigation that first identified Fear of Harm.


This chart below was developed by Dr. Papolos and his team to shows the symptoms that emerged, and which assisted in the identification of the new diagnosis of Fear of Harm. These dimensions were outlined further in their 2009 published paper: Fear of Harm, a Possible Phenotype of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Dimensional Approach to Diagnosis for Genotyping Psychiatric Syndromes (Journal of Affective Disorders), and were used to develop FOH’s proposed diagnostic criteria.


The 6 Dimensions of Fear of Harm (FOH) Phenotype (PDF)

Below are videos from a JBRF event in 2019. They show Dr. Demitri Papolos and Dr. Steven Mattis, discussing Fear of Harm, its identification, and the field changing implications of this transformational diagnosis. These videos can be found on the JBRF YouTube channel. You can watch them below or click “Watch on YouTube” to be taken to the JBRF channel.