“Schizophrenia” is a term used to describe a complex, disabling mental illness. How severe the illness is varies by person and time period.

What causes schizophrenia?

The exact cause is not yet known though genetics may play a role. It can also be triggered by highly stressful events or substance abuse.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary by person. Common symptoms include:

  • Thoughts that are loose, or do not seem to relate to one another

  • Bizarre behavior

  • Tense feelings

  • Decreased concentration

  • Hearing or seeing things that others do not

  • Being out of touch with reality, or not able to tell what is real from unreal 

  • Delusions (beliefs that are not fully based in reality)

  • Emotions seem to be absent or might seem to be the wrong ones for the setting

  • Loss of function, social withdrawal, intense fear

  • Odd speech habits such as talking to self in public, disorganized speech

  • Decrease in energy or drive

  • Odd sleep patterns 

How is it treated? 

There are many ways to treat schizophrenia. Treatment is often long term and may include:

  • Medicines

  • Local support programs

  • Career help

  • Counseling

  • Skills training

  • Medical and psychiatric follow-up

  • Hospital stays

  • Crisis services

Is there a cure?

At this time, there is no cure for the illness. Many people with the right treatment do lead happy, healthy, lives. We are still learning about the causes and cures for schizophrenia.

Who to Call

If you have other questions, please ask your doctor or nurse or call the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit at (608) 263-7525.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dane Co.

NAMI Dane County

2059 Atwood Avenue

(608) 249-7188


Or in acute crisis you can call:

Journey Mental Health.

625 W. West Washington Ave

Madison WI 53703

(608) 280-2600