What Are the Different Types of Treatment Modalities?

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  • Written By: Clara Kedrek
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 28 February 2020
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People who have health problems are generally offered a number of different treatment modalities in order to best cure their underlying diseases. Common methods of treatment that can be employed include medications, surgery, psychological therapies, and physical therapy. Alternative medicine is another approach to patient care that can improve the quality of life of many people.

One of the most common treatment modalities is medication. Pharmaceutical agents can be taken as pills, as injections, or by intravenous administration depending on the specific characteristics of the drugs. Some medications are only available by prescription, while others can be purchased over the counter. Different medications can be used as pain relievers, antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, vitamins, supplements, and for many other purposes.

Surgery is another one of the treatment modalities commonly used for different diseases. Some surgeries are minor, and can be performed in doctors’ offices without the need for administration of anesthesia. Other surgeries are more involved; they can take many hours to perform and require putting patients to sleep. Different operations can be used to treat diverse conditions including cancers, skin lesions, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems.


Patients with psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders can benefit from interpersonal therapy, either performed one-on-one between the patient and doctor, or in a group of patients led by a health care provider. Psychotherapy is one type of therapy that relies on interpreting a patient’s deeply held desires, wants, and dreams. Behavioral therapy is more practical, and focuses on trying to change bad habits by slowly changing day-to-day actions. Many patients with a diverse range of conditions benefit from group therapy, as this gives them perspective on their diseases by learning from others’ experiences. Family therapy is another type, and can help to solve interpersonal conflicts.

Physical therapy is another of the more common treatment modalities available. Many patients recovering from incapacitating diseases such as a stroke can benefit from doing physical therapy exercises in order to increase their ability to perform the activities of daily life. Even patients with conditions such as depression, fibromyalgia, and arthritis can benefit from regular exercise, either practiced on their own or with the help of licensed practitioners.

Alternative medicine is another treatment modality used to help patients. As opposed to the previous methods of treatment, complementary and alternative medicine falls outside of the tradition of Western medicine and instead draws on folk knowledge, traditional therapies, and other belief systems. Examples of alternative medicine include acupuncture, herbs, yoga, hypnosis, and traditional Chinese medicine. Many patients with a variety of different diseases can benefit from these approaches to healing.


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