Heard a lot of good stuff here. It's important to remember that there is no "one size fits all" solution.
I had been having panic attacks for years, not knowing what they were. For some reason I saw these attacks as a moral issue (I should be able to CONTROLL this dammit!) So, I didn't discuss with anyone, I was so ashamed. I just knew others would think I was crazy. Also, I have borderline obsessive compulsive, which I thought of as "control"
Finally, after one of those hard times that come to everyones life, the damn just burst and I started having them all the time, daily.
Unless you have experience a panic attack, you have no idea.
Imagine someone holding a gun to your head, clicking empty cylinders, and knowing absolutely there is a bullet in there. That is the fear you experience.
Finally, I went into therapy, which helped tremendously with working with many issues, but the Panic continued. I capitalize Panic because by this time it was an entity that had a life of its own. No amount of meditation, deep breathing, yoga was going to get it to abate.
My therapist, occassionally brought up the possibility of medication, however, one of my worst fears was taking any type of drugs. I had a fear that I would totally lose controll, and die. Sound familiar to anyone?
Thank God she kept the thought in my mind, because nothing seemed to work.
Here was my watershed moment - A close fried and I have always had a dream of going to Italy together. I realized I would never be able to sit in a tube hurtling through space for hours and hours, probably smoke filled at that.
I realized - this THING is keeping me from living the life I want to live!!!!!
Not many in this thread have mentioned the role of seritonin in panic attacks.
Seritonin gives the body a calming effect, and "normal" people have plenty in reserve, to get over that adrenalin rush because a tiger is chasing you.
Those suffering from panic attacks howerever, have not only guzzled every drop produced by your body, it immediatley grabs out and devours any more your brain manages to eek out.
So much for being afraid of addicting medications - You're body is acting like a crack addict - canibalizing it's own dealer!
At least that how I think of it.
Having made the decesion to start living my life again, and started taking a popular seritonin-reuptake-inhibitor. There were adjustments to the meds over a little time - by I truly credit this to giving my life quality again. Oh, it helped the OCD too.
So - take whatever road you need to get help, but get it.
Panic is a truly awful master - I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
If you think getting whatever help you need will improve YOUR life, just imagine how it will improve the lives of those around you. Being near, and trying to love me was no picnic.