You are correct from having researched the side effects and use of Abilify. That is a medication usually prescribed in addition with other medications to psychotic features that are at times present in some depressive disorders.
If the medication was prescribed to you by your general practitioner physician, they are not really trained in the treatment of mental health.
There are many other medications like the you one have mentioned although xanax is addicting. Other options out there are Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft that address anxiety and depressive symptoms. Another medication used that does not fall under the class of psychotropic medications is Inderal (that some individuals get prescribed because of its property to slower heart rate)
Counseling (to address the cause of the anxiety attacks ) can be helpful as well as biofeedback, hypnosis, meditation and relaxation response training/visualization, deep breathing.
Panic attacks feel like heart attacks and losing control. With the right medication and counseling though, anxiety disorders are treated successfully. It would make a whole lot of difference once you find the right doctor and he prescribes a medication that you respond well to.