If you've ever suffered from a panic attack, you know it can overwhelm your body's every sensation and overload it with acute anxiety. We met a Sioux Falls woman who used to have panic attacks 2 to 3 times a day. She even stopped leaving home for fear she would have one in public. That is until she got help from a psychiatrist at Avera Behavioral Health.
15 years ago Candy Scheibe (pronounced shy-bee) started having panic attacks, although she didn't know what was happening back then. They would come on, out the blue, and practically paralyze her with what she describes as a case of the uncontrolled creeps.
Candy says, "My hands would get sweaty. I would have the shakes. I would have to get out of the room I was in. I even applied for a 2 bedroom apartment from Sioux Falls Housing just so I wouldn't have to stay in one room."
Avera Psychiatrist Dr. David Bean is her doctor. He says, "It's a time that all of a sudden anxiety takes over and you are in a state of panic. Your heart is racing, you are short of breath because you are hyper ventilating, you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off. It's very scary."
Candy says, "It made me not want to leave my apartment because I was afraid I'd have one in public. I was afraid to go out so I started staying home more and more until I got on medication.
Candy started seeing Avera Psychiatrist Dr. David Bean for bi-polar disorder initially and he discovered her panic attacks were an anxiety disorder that often accompanies it.
I asked Dr. Bean what triggers a panic attack. It is something missing in our brain? He says, "We all have a flight or fight mechanism. If we open the door to find a grizzly bear standing there, my system takes over and says run like no body's business. My heart is racing because my adrenal glands are squeezing down, my face gets numb. A panic attack is an overwhelming adrenaline response. We say our grizzly bear mechanism is set a little too sensitive."
A combination of medications and therapy has helped Candy calm the anxiety and live a more normal life. She's no longer afraid to leave her house.