Treatment and care to combat disease or alleviate pain or injury. Its tools include drugs, surgery, radiation therapy, mechanical devices, diet, and psychiatry. Treatment may be active, to cure a disease (requiring no further treatment after recovery), treat it long-term, or heal a wound; symptomatic, to relieve symptoms until the immune system heals the body; supportive, to keep body functions going until the disease clears; or palliative, to minimize discomfort for patients with no chance of recovery. It almost always includes prevention, usually tertiary (see preventive medicine). Therapeutic measures can be chosen, combined, and tailored based on accurate diagnosis to fit each patient. See also alternative medicine; chemotherapy; holistic medicine; hydrotherapy; nuclear medicine; occupational therapy; physical medicine and rehabilitation; psychotherapy; respiratory therapy.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on therapeutics, visit Britannica.com.
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