Your boyfriend is smart not to start with medication at all. Even a few weeks on an anti-depressant (most commonly used for anxiety/panic attacks) can be addicting. I was on 10mg (very small!) of Paxil everyday for 2 1/2 years, I gained 30lbs in just one year, was numb to any emotions, drank more than usual (it took longer to feel that "buzzed" feeling), and you're basically covering up the reasons for anxiety/panic attacks.
I've been off for 2 months (my husband and I decided back in December we would start trying to get pregnant and you take meds when preggo!), and have already lost 15 lbs without changing anything, started seeing a therapist that treats anxiety disorders, and picked up a great book that might help: The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Dr. Edmund J. Bourne. I think that would be a good starting point along with the Therapy. The books talks about causes, non-medicinal treatment and coping strategies. In the 3 weeks I've been reading it, I've been able to stave off the start of panic multiple times and it's made life a little easier to deal with so far.
Treatment and getting over everything is not over night and takes some work, but can be done! I also suggest him getting full blood work done to rule out any other ailment that could be contributing. My friend suffered from anxiety as well and found out through a blood panel that she has a gluten sensitivity and after eliminating gluten from her diet, she has seen many of her symptoms/attacks diminish.
Again, I think it's great he doesn't want to go down the medication road. Dr.'s are so quick to prescribe pills these days, but this can be treated with some dedication and will-power!
good Luck :)
Anxious in San Diego