Background: Data on the societal costs of mental disorders are necessary to inform health policies. Methods: This study assessed the costs of panic disorder and subthreshold panic disorder, compared these with costs of other mental disorders, and assessed the effects of (psychiatric and somatic) comorbidity and agoraphobia on the costs of panic. Using a large, population-based study in The Netherlands (n = 5504), both medical and production costs were estimated from a societal perspective within a one-year timeframe. Results: Annual per capita costs of panic disorder were €10,269, while subthreshold panic disorder generated €6384. These costs were higher than those of the other mental disorders studied. About one quarter of the costs could be attributed to comorbidity. Agoraphobia was associated with higher costs. Limitations: Methodological choices influence cost estimates. In the present study most of these will result in conservative cost estimates. Conclusions: Panic thus causes substantial societal costs. Given the availability of effective treatment, treatment may not only benefit individual patients, but also have economic returns for society. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.