These definitely sound like panic attacks. Even without insurance, you can get help at a community mental health service in your community. I strongly recommend it. Drinking and drugs only represses the panic temporarily..you have to get it treated, or it will continue to distort your way of life.
I have taken Kava (herbal) with good results. Instead of drinking I'd try doing something else (work a puzzle, clean the house) to avoid having attacks (brought on by drinking). Anyway, I've taken Kava and try vitamin B-6 supplement it helps your nervousness.
I suffer from panic attacks at times also. They get really bad when there is a lot of stress in my life. I take ativan to help stop them. Sometimes I can feel one coming on and take 2 mgs of the ativan and it will sometimes stop it before it happens. I also drank alot for 13 years and it almost killed me, I had no money or insurance but I got funding from a mental health center and went to inpatient treatment for 17 days and finished up as a out patient at the mental health center. That was 13 years ago and have never drank since. When I started drinking I thought it was the answer to all my problems but it soon became THE problem in my life. I hope anyone who is having drinking problems find the strength to quit. I have seen to many people die from it or worse yet kill someone else while driving drunk. Or end up with shot livers and on and on. I hope I don't sound like a add for AA because to be honest I haven't been to a meeting in years. Tom W.
As far as panic attacks go, deep breathing (not shallow breathing) helps a lot. Gestalt therapy also is a great help. I also recommend looking into whether you have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, which I do not consider a disorder, but it is definitely a brain thing and causes anxiety) and/or hypoclycemia (low blood sugar, which causes terrible depression).
In the case of ADD, just having the right job and environment can help get rid of the anxiety (usually a creative and non-judgemental environment helps).
In the case of hypoglycemia, a diet that avoids sugar, refined carbs, and stimulants like caffein, etc. helps a lot. Read the book, Potatoes, not Prozac, by Dathleen DesMaisons.
I realize that you drink, but DO NOT start taking Ativan too. Ativan and alcohol are the worst! I think you should consider what the Dr. said about your local Community Mental Health Service. I did that and got in NA there and it made a world of difference. My dr. also got me on Paxil (and I know you're allergic, but it STOPS WORKING EVENTUALLY anyways).
So you COULD to get into a Yoga class and work on breathing and relaxation. What I realized about the Paxil for relaxing is: it's going to stop working and I can't increase the dose forever, so I should work on relaxing more naturally.
Please try to cut the drinking down to just Red Wine a couple a night!