Dr Harry Barry on Panic Attacks and General Anxiety

“You have my word as a doctor -this adrenaline rush will not kill you”. Dr Harry Barry on panic attacks

Dr Harry Barry is a medical doctor with a particular interest in mental health and has extensive experience of dealing with issues like anxiety and depression.

He is also the author of three best selling books and I have wanted to interview him for some time now after I discovered how much his work aligns with my own approach in Panic Away.

In this short interview Dr Barry explains:


  • What exactly happens during a panic attack
  • Why panic attacks are in no way dangerous.
  • Why we need to normalize anxiety.
  • Why be believes therapy is better than medication for treating anxiety.

Click to play the interview

Click Here to Save this MP3 to Your Drive

Dr. Harry Barry is a medical doctor based in Drogheda, Ireland. He is a Director of AWARE, the depression support organization. He is also author of three books

‘Flagging the Therapy – pathways out of depression and anxiety’
‘Flagging Stress – toxic stress and how to avoid it’
‘Flagging the Problem – a new approach to mental health’

All books are available from www.libertiespress.com or Amazon.com

56 replies on “Dr Harry Barry on Panic Attacks and General Anxiety

  • sabi

    hello!! im soo impressed with what you have said in your one to one interview with my hero barry, it is great to know that as a doctor you have given me a big resurrance regarding anxiety and depression which i suffer with and i follow barry’s mini course to help myself , which i have improved alot but its just so nice when it comes from a doctor… thank you for the tips godbless you…

  • luna

    Very great interview!
    I’m agoraphobic at the moment and this was helpful to me. I’ve been on medicines since I was 10 (now 35) so the idea of not being on anything is scary! I did grow up in a volatile home and was always frightened. Currently,I’m a “hermit”, and have no friends. Oh- I have had panic attacks near my home/during errands and people have called the ambulance(so embarrassing)! My fear that fuels anxiety is embarrassment(mainly, vomiting in public which can be traced back to my mother’s illness).
    I am not afraid of death -not of my own. More so, I obsess on the deaths/impending death of others. Especially my father and mother (she died of illness when I was16),even my pets.
    I’ve been diagnosed with an array of disorders: ocd, bi-polar,depression, schizophrenia,ptsd(from rape/s) along with panic disorder and social phobia, and the big one agoraphobia. That is kicking my butt now!
    However, I’m looking at this list and thinking: Aren’t some of these the same/related?
    My doctors refuse to take me off xanax/serequel because they said I’ve been on them for too long (3 yrs).
    Yet, they’ve added many other meds that really DID send me to the hospital.
    They tell me I can’t work or go to school (how am I supposed to interact with others then?).
    Therapy does not help either: I go in, they bring up the past which I can do nothing about;I cry then leave.
    20 some odd years of this.
    In closing, I am hopeful however little it may seem that one day I will be free.
    Not normal, because no one is.
    But free.
    Thank you.

  • Granville Wallwork

    Absolutely Brilliant. A Doctor who actually understands instead of dismissing you and sending you home with pills. Fair play to you and God bless you, you are a real inspiration.


  • Mary Singleton

    This is a very helpful interview reinforcing things I know but also bringing in new material relating to the brain and the environment in which we grow up. Thanks.

  • norma jean

    Thank you so much for sharing your interview with doctor Barry, I have been using panic away since 2009 .
    I dont know where i would be with out the program. Dr Barry interview was very helpful even as i consider my self cured from the actual panic attacks, i still have some GAD and depression. I plan to buy his book on depression right away I was very impressed with his insight…..Again i say thank you for caring and sharing.

  • Ted

    Hi Ted here I thank you for this info haven’t seen all the video yet but will certainly look at it all through and try and get the Dr’s books to read. I still suffer with anxiety and try and calm myself down by your panic away programme thanks regards Ted

  • Sarah

    Hi Barry!

    I just want to tell you how grateful I am that I found out about you and your program. You have been a great help for me and though I never met you, you’re a big support for me. My anxietyproblems started when I had my son 2 years ago and suffered from a post partum-depression. I started having panic- and anxietyattacks and that was the worst time for me ever, try dealing with myself and all of this while I had to take care of my newborn 24-7. Your program has done miracles for me and I glady recommend it to people I talk to. It fills me with so much hope and happiness and I feel that I’m alive again.

    THANK YOU!!!

  • david poll

    thanks i av add anxiety for 13 years wat you av said makes sence av been on medacation before i was on serax they helped with the panic attacks but its just anxiety i av i do av some good days i do find it mostly ard going in public place so thanks again

  • buck978

    Leaving for Ireland in a few days, so the tape helped me with the language. Good information on general anviety, made it seem so simple! The word normal was used very often, and that made me relax. Went away with the idea that I can do it and don’t fight it, but go with the flow.
    Thank you for sending this out to everyone, I will listen to it many times.


  • Margaret Dickinson

    What a wonderful interview, thank you so much. It really helped me to understand what is going on with my body and that I am not going completely mad. I am now going to order the books and can’t wait to read them. Thank you Dr. Harry and thank you Barry for sending this to me, you are truly wonderful. x

  • steve slattery

    i struggle alot with anxity i get alot jest when people talk to me my mined goes black and i start to thinkl peole can see wot is happening in sida of when and then cant talk prop. i real need to lison to tha talk, and im going to try todo wot u was saying . it mad me feel alot better THAXS BOTH

  • francie danek

    I have used positive thinking methods to help my anxiety attacks and it has worked very well for me and all the advice that you have given is me hope to continue changing my thought process to turn the negative thoughts into a positive thought truly works for me I thank God everyday for both of you for helping so many people with their anxities,depression and panic attacks thank you so much.

  • MARK

    That was great of information . The Doc made it sound so simple , and really it is . As he states its the emotional part of the brain taking over . I for one will sleep better tonight .
    Thanks V much

  • Tanialee

    So appreciative of these free sessions concerning panic attacks. A week ago I had a severe anxiety attack (hadn’t had one in about six months) while my son while driving the car across a short bridge. I screamed at him to pull over or I was going to go insane! It was a terrible scenario because there was only a short berm to stop on. Motorists passed by cussing him out and it shook my son to the core.
    He just went into working mode not giving me time to jump out of the car (jumping out of the car for a few seconds and walking a few paces always helped) and revved the engine into full throttle racing across the bridge. Well we got across the bridge and nothing severe happened at all although I was a nervous wreck!
    When Dr. Harry Barry and Barry talk about embracing the fears while in an attack, I am wondering if anyone knows if making oneself suddenly laugh would be a good thing? Have often felt that if I could actually laugh out loud verbally I could stop these attacks all together. However I believe that my son might think, “Gosh Mom really is daffy, gotta get her to the paddy wagon now!” which would devesate us both.

  • Meg Hanly

    the interview with Dr Harry was excellent.I am very glad I signed up for Panic Away,your helpful emails always come when most needed!Thank you very much.

  • Tim Luscombe

    An excellent interview, clearly explaining the cause of panic attacks and the remedial action to take. Whilst I agree with all that both of you state, the problem for me is the difference between understanding the theory and putting the necessary disciple for recovery into effect immediately an attack hits – normally without warning and often when waking up, in my case. I will start by reading “Flagging the Therapy”. Living in France, it is difficult to get readily understandable advice, so your programme helps a lot.

  • Thresa

    I just listened to your interview and it was great. I feel better just knowing that I accurally can do something about this with knowing I will be okay. I pray that more people will get to listen to your interview and to get your books that need help.

  • asifa

    hi barry thanks for remembering me always.your mails are a source of reassurance for the patients of
    panic attacks.thanks for sharing

  • eamon

    1988 my dad was killed by a bomb near wer we live my bro and i found him with our neice in a field iv had panic problems since then everything u said is true i try to bring them on but they seem to strike wen im not ready for them it would b nice no talk to you

  • Greg

    I listened to the interview with Dr Harry and it sounded very simple and sensible, I still suffer with anxiety and have since about 6 yrs old, I use to tell my adrenaline to come on and i could control it for sometime up to about 33 but after that I went on medication for the fact I was just tired of fighting or coping with it. It was just natural for me to fight it. The medication which is a small amount has helped signifcantly. I just don’t see any other way.

  • Kimberly

    I like what Dr Harry Barry has to say about “generalized anxiety.” Before this interview I never understood the term; yet this is precisely what I suffer from. I always took “generalized” to mean “not as bad as other forms of anxiety,” though it is debilitating.

    Personally, I want to make anxiety go away as soon as possible so I can be “normal;” hence, medication. But I understand the medication is a temporary fix to a residual problem. In my quest for normalcy, I continue to use medication. Also, I am trying to reduce the stress in my life by getting away from situations that cause anxiety — probably not the best response for healing.

    Thank you for sharing the interview.

  • Adam Shaw

    Great and practical advice from Dr Harry B and Barry. Your program saved my life dude – along with Paul Davids book and yours an absolute blessing on what was becoming a real problem for me. It is good to hear a Dr that actually knows what he is talking about and the fact that it is just your brain working overtime (and the mechanics) makes things easier to cope with. The how and why is the key and ones patience with ones self is another. Please keep more interviews like this coming Barry. I think your brilliant.

  • Carmel

    Dear Barry,
    Thank you for publishing this interview. I plan to share it with some friends of mine. The Panic Away Program saved my life a couple of years ago. I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life. It is wonderful to think that there are now doctors out there who are beginning to understand. Dr. Harry Barry sounds like such a kind and gentle man 🙂
    May God bless you.

  • mat heathcock

    great interview, very helpful. many things were revealed that i didn’t know before.

    god bless.

  • Ashley

    What an amazing and helpful interview. It really helped me to understand that my panic and GAD is an adrenaline rush and to know that even though the symptoms are awful, they will nit harm me. I have a function to attend tommorow and I am going to use what I learned today cbinedxwith the panic away program to help to enjoy myself and accept my anxiety instead of always fearing and running from it. Thais again. Ashley from Toronto,Canada

  • Peter

    A very pragmatic discussion from a very accurate point of view.
    What he says about speaking of taboo subjects in an undertone is SO correct!
    Things like mental health, VD, divorce, affairs etc all were hush hush back in the 40,50s-60s.
    I have suffered from panic attacks since the age of 5.(i’m now 55)
    There were times when they left me alone for many decades but when they made a return they still shocked me.
    I’ve come to realise they are part of me…as a babe,i was raised in a anxious household and was bullied at school so i absorb fear into my life..
    We tend to push away the fear but we must embrace it as part of US.
    It’s difficult..takes courage. BUT there is NO other way.
    Thank you, both Dr Barry and Barry !

  • Ted

    Hi Ted here Thanks again for all the helpfull tips I am still concentrating on the positive and so will hopefully beat the anxiety all the best to all the sufferes of anxiety keep positive regards Ted

  • Sebastian Toriello

    Hi, Dr. Barry i just wanted to say that you are a really amazing person and that we realy appreciate your ambitious of helping people with a disorder of anxiety like us, you really changed my life in such a positive way. I appreciaty it very much, im from Guatemala btw 😉

  • Sonny

    Thank you so much for confirming what I’ve come to understand and lots more. I wish all GPs were required to keep up to date with new processes for dealing with these issues as there is much inconsistency between clinics and surgeries regarding advice and treatment.
    If it could be raised as a major issue, it could save a lot of anguish, time, money and even lives.

  • Kathy

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks you so much for bringing us this interview and continuing to increase educate me about panic and anxiety. Its benefit is invaluable.

  • catherine leyden

    A brilliant interview ,it makes so much sense when explained in that way It is very reassuring to know why and where it comes from .When you have a panic attack which seems unprovoced,that is the most difficult one to deal with .But as you rightly said one has to embrace it and do away with the symptoms.
    Thank you ,it was so interesting,and I will definitely use youe technique.

  • Armando

    Hi Barry, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Since I started with your program my life has been different, I’m going out the house more and done things I thought I would never do again. Panic away does work. Thank you for the emails they are really helpful, again Thank you, Barry.

  • Peaceful

    What a lovely interview, thank you Barry.

    As Dr Harry explained it IS actually as ‘simple’ as confronting the Panic! I have applied the Panic Away system for just over a year and I can truly say that my anxiety levels are at the minimum probably the lowest it’s been my whole life! 🙂 All we have to do is BELIEVE that what we are experiencing is not going to harm us and retrain our brain to see things for what they are and not what we think they might be.

    This journey has taught me so much and I am thankful for it.

  • Avril Mesh

    Dr. Harry when are you coming to Australia? I could do with a doctor like you right here right now! My anxiety levels are very high at the moment so listening to your interview has really helped. I like how you say to ‘normalise’ the anxiety and to ’embrace’ it. This certainly mirrors Barry’s approach which I have been following. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. Truly appreciate it. I also can identify with your view around medication and wish more doctors would use the road less traveled or not use the ‘swimming float’ in the first place. Move over Dr. Phil come on over Dr. Barry!

  • Megan

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been doing a treatment like yours with a psychologist and had been doing very well, but recently between being sick, too hot, and especially with a plane trip to Europe (from America) coming up, my panic went from nearly gone to nearly constant. I needed a reminder to help get me back on track. I kept imagining myself on the plane panicking for eight hours. It’s very helpful to be reminded that it’s only adrenaline and that I can be in control and stop trying to avoid panicking (and reinforcing in my brain that panic is something to be avoided).

    Thanks again!

  • Brad Earl

    This seems to be a point blank answer that sums up all he symtoms and can put a name on the cause. It just takes a lot of time and understanding that your true self will eventually shine through. I find that after a time of remission I have a tendency to forget to not listen to my emotional mind and that is when I identify with my thoughts.

  • Brian

    Thanks again Barry for your emails. They are always of great help to me and Dr. Barrys advice and explanation of the emotional brain was very helpful. I haven’t felt comfortable in social situations for years now and then suffered a severe panic attack. So whenever I go out my prescribed valium comes with me. I also suffer from depression so am going to buy Dr. Barry’s ‘Flagging the Therapy’ to see if I can break this cycle.Thanks again

  • Marty

    Fantastic interview with a first-rate description of anxiety and depression. Barry, I would love it if you could explore the benefits of meditation in practices like Tai Chi and Yoga. I think the one word that comes to mind in embracing my anxiety and depression is being “aware” of the moment and what feelings I am feeling and that way my rational side of the brain is in control. For me, yoga, practiced daily, seems to make this much easier. Again, what a great interview….keep these coming as you are doing a great service for a lot of people.

  • liz

    listening to this gave me relief right away! im new to anxiety/panick attacks, ive been suffering from them for only 3 1/2 m0nths. ive tried the anti-depressants for a month but stopped on my own because i didnt like the way they made me feel. i would rather go the natural route! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS INTERVIEW IT WAS A HUGE HELP 🙂

  • madonna romero

    Thank u so much Barry, for making efforts to make us feel understood and cared. thanx also to Dr. Barry for the assurance. its really nice to learn from a real doctor..God bless u both


    How wonderful the great service you are providing to mankind.
    With your teachings people who would have been otherwise very traumatized with panic attacks n life
    have now taken control of their lives and are living without any fears.

  • Lolly

    Thank you so much, its like my rational brain ‘knows’ all this but when I have a panic attack it goes out the window! Thank you for understanding x x

  • Kim Pike

    Good day to you!

    I have listened to your interview today.
    I have Anxiety for just over two years now I do feel much better but I have one small problem still.
    I was wondering if you can advice me on this matter to get me through it.
    I am trying to get myself back to work now but everytime I go to apply for a job I get that Panic Feeling and something inside stops me going ahead with applying.
    It’s stupid really! I just can’t seem to push myself to go one step further.
    I get that sicky feeling and my head starts to spin.
    Please can you tell me how I can get over this as it is starting to be a big problem to me.
    I just want to get on with my life and be happy again.

    Kind Regards

    Kim Pike

  • Trish @ Queensland

    Thankyou so much for this interview, i have recently suffered from panick attacks & anxiety for 6 months & depression off & on for many years. Thankyou for this info i have learnt so much & feel i can get through this now. I wish there were many Dr like you both. I havent had any luck with any Dr’s yet, have been very disappointed there & have been on my own with all of this. I now take one day at a time. Barry your panic away i am going to sign up to again my computer died right in the process of it all of you sending me your emails. You have been such a blessing to me with the help i have recieved in the emails i have been able to read. Thankyou again Dr Barry & Barry for Panic Away. You have blessed many people my prayers are that God will bless you abundantly. Thankyou Trish

  • Trish @ Queensland

    Thankyou so much this has been truelly a blessing i have learnt so much & feel i can face this head on. I will get all the books Dr Barry has written. Thankyou so much for you passion to help many with this life issues of panick anxiety & depression. May God Bless you in everything you put your hands to. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart Trish

  • Mike Power

    Excellent interview. A great explanation of what happens in our brain and the best way to deal with it. Thank you. I’ll be ordering Dr Barry’s book this afternoon!

  • Wayne Bogue

    Thank you, Dr. Barry, for outstanding insight into panic attacks. My brother suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for years. He felt as though he were having a heart attack. On one occasion, paramedics were called and took him out of a heavy traffic jam to the ER–tough stuff. He’s since learned that he won’t die during these events. Moreover, the frequency of attacks has diminished significantly. I’m assuming a connection between his understanding that they won’t kill him and their tapering off. Thank you! Wayne.

  • Deron

    A great help. So good to know your not alone. This information is extremely valuable and I want to thank you. God bless!

  • Brad Earl

    I forget that everyone suffers from this condition. What is hard is trying to pinpoint when I went wrong with my emotional mind. I know that everything seems out of sorts when I have a number of stressors. What can be done about unemployment these days. That seems to be a big one. To me the problem is remaining in a rational mind set when under new employment or under stress to preform. In those situations I find that people that I work with can sense the lack of concentration.

  • dave@howtodealwithanxiety

    I have suffered from anxiety for years and when I get an adrenaline rush I always remind myself it’s just my bodies adrenaline and it will not hurt me ever. Once you understand what is happening inside your body then you can learn to accept it and let go of the fear.

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