Before diagnosed with bi-polar i suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for years.
I suffered every anxious symptom you can think of including the feeling of "Im having a heart attack!"
which led me to the Er and urgent care time after time. I was a mess and ended up with huge doctor bills after having all these tests done that were unessasary.
I eventually went through a fifteen week anxiety and depression program that workded wonders for me. I learned so much about what anxiety is and isn't.
as far as meds go, benzodiazepines like ativan work fast but leave your system after several hours and they are downers which can leave you feeling a little crappy afterwards.
their are other meds that work well for anxiety like ssri's but if you have bi polar you have to be carefull with those as they can destabilize your mood. This was told to me by my phsychiatrist.
aside from medication, anxiety causes a chemical reaction in the body, the whole fight or flight response. Your adrenaline goes way up and when you come down you are left drained and sometimes depressed.
Anxiety can cause a lot of mental wear and tear and of coars physiological symptoms can occur as well even though not dangerous.
Best thing to do is always start with a routine check up with your doctor. get some labs done and if all clear, work on the anxiety.
Anxiety can be manage well with out meds, i can testify to that as i have done the med thing and have done with out. i havent used meds for anxiety for years. but some people need to even if its just temporary.
for me, a structered plan to manage anxiety and panic and if necsessary some meds and youll be ok.
Hope this helps, keep in touch!