THE QUIZ: Headaches

Psychiatric TimesVol 34 No 3
Volume 34
Issue 3

Migraine, tension-type, cluster...test your clinical acumen about headaches with these 16 questions.

Along with back pain, headaches are the most common form of chronic, recurring pain. Although many people think that headaches invariably indicate some severe underlying pathology such as a brain tumor, in fact most headaches are primary ones that have no such identifiable pathology and do not require further workup. Furthermore, the most common type of secondary headaches, medication overuse headaches, result from the treatment of primary headaches. It is also important to note that when severe underlying pathology is present, there are usually “red flags” that indicate the need for further workup.


1.Which of the following are considered “red flags” that indicate the possibility that severe underlying pathology may be the cause of a headache?

A. A change in mental status

B. The worst headache the person has ever experienced

C. Presence of fever

D. First onset of headache after age 50

E. All of the above


Dr. King is in private practice in New York, and he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.


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