Battered wife syndrome
A theoretical term for a large constellation of nonspecific mental and behavioral symptoms associated with prolonged abuse by a spouse. Symptoms include a pervasive sense of helplessness, low self-esteem, blaming self
for the abuse, belief in the omniscience and omnipresence of the abuser, headaches, generalized anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, hypervigilance, and exaggerated startle response. Battered wife syndrome has not been included in the DSM-IV-TR as its symptoms are too varied and unpredictable to be diagnosable in a consistent manner. The diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is most often given to women who suffer psychopathology after having been battered.