People who have borderline personality disorder are 13 times more likely to report childhood trauma than people without any mental health problems, according to a study by the University of Manchester research.
The analysis of data from over 42 international studies of 5,000 people showed that 71.1 per cent of people who were diagnosed with the serious health condition reported at least one traumatic childhood experience.
A borderline personality disorder is a brain disease associated with various neurological anomalies, all of which can ultimately be traced to the confluence of genetics and past traumatic experience.
People with BPD have trouble managing their emotions and maintaining their focus, and as a result, their behaviour, relationships, and self-image tend to be highly unstable.
At one time, BPD was thought to be a relatively unusual condition. But the latest research suggests that borderline personality disorder is much more common than previously realized.
Past estimates put the incidence of the disorder at 1.6 per cent of the adult population, but recent studies indicate that up to six per cent of the adult population in the United States may meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis at some point in their lives.
A 2014 study revealed that 1.4 per cent of adolescents met the criteria for a borderline personality disorder by the age of 16, and that number rose steadily to 3.2 per cent by the age of 22.
Most cases of BPD are diagnosed in young adults, but a significant percentage of these individuals likely would have met the criteria for diagnosis several years earlier, if a thorough evaluation of their symptoms had been made.
Adult traumas might affect BPD sufferers, making their symptoms worse or harder to overcome.
The interface between childhood trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has been a topic of discussion and controversy in clinical research. This severe psychiatric disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability in affect regulation, impulse control, self-image, cognition and interpersonal relationships.
Frequent self-damaging and impulsive behaviours, such as suicide, self-harm or substance abuse exacerbate the severity and morbidity of the disorder.
Although the diagnosis of BPD does not require a history of the traumatic event, childhood trauma is considered the main environmental factor contributing to the aetiology and severity of the disorder.
By way of example, in a prospective study 500 children who had suffered physical and sexual abuse and neglect were found to be significantly more likely to meet criteria for BPD in adulthood than matched controls.
Although childhood trauma does not always lead to psychopathology there is an empirical consensus that the interaction between childhood trauma and temperamental traits constitutes the basis for the aetiology and severity of BPD.
Accordingly, the biopsychosocial model of BPD posits that the disorder results from the interaction between biologically based temperamental vulnerabilities and adverse experiences in childhood.