01-22-2009, 03:06 PM
I have general anxiety disorder... which essentially boils down to having panic attacks without any real triggers... and the most important thing is to let her know it's going to be OK.
When I first completely lost it, I ended up in the ER multiple times for what I thought were heart problems. Eventually they even sent me around with a portable ECG on (unable to shower for two days, wired up like a robot... awesome). Knowing that, as much as you may feel a sense of impending doom, there's nothing it can do to hurt you is important.
Get a referral from her regular doctor to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Like several others have said, he'll probably put her on benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonzopan, Ativan, et cetera). They're extremely habit forming over time... I'm "dependent" on them, which is the medical way of saying addicted... but they work.
Hopefully they'll be able to identify some triggers for her and work around them. I had a good friend end up like I am over family issues, and once his therapist really put a face on what was causing him to freak out, he really came back to Earth.
Even if she's screwed like me, she'll be able to resume normal life for the most part once she's medicated.
Good luck. It's a terrible thing to live with.