I know this is an old thread, but I have had this problem for several years, and it's kind of scary, so I know what you mean about a "panicky feeling".
I thought maybe I had some nerve damage, or was getting MS or an illness that would cause motility problems.
I have had reflux and talked to doctors about this partiular symptom, but none seemed to be familiar with the problem.
My symptoms are like this:
I wake up in the middle of the night, I try to swallow, but I can't, it's like nothing is working, my throat feels completely numb. Then after great effort, I can swallow.
The thing is, I never have a problem swallowing food or liquids.
It seems that my throat is dry when this happens though.
My best guess is that it's related to reflux.
I did have the 24 Hr PH monitoring test done and unfortunately, that night I didn't have any symptoms, so nothing was confirmed.
If you found any other information about this problem, please let me know.