People who have panic disorder go to doctors to take care of it. I have had maybe hundreds of patients, more than I can count over my years of practice, who have come to me with this. Most of them do well. Usually the panic disorder runs its course.
That is not to say that panic disorder is not terrifying. Often people believe that their first panic attack is a heart attack. Often they have come to me already addicted to benzodiazepines by emergency room physicians who (understandably) worry a lot more about the immediate comfort of the patient than about the long term situation. Here is the official government take on panic disorder. Yes, find a psychiatrist you can trust. Yes, they recommend family and support groups. Good stuff, but free and easy to recommend. Yes, there is some exciting new research but as long as insurance companies and HMOs determine how people get treated, it is unlikely that research will be quickly translated into treatment.