The aim of the current study is to compare the prevalence, severity and location of cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMH) between patients with panic disorder (PD) and healthy control subjects. Patients with PD (n = 24) and matched healthy control subjects (n = 24) were scanned using a 3.0 Tesla whole-body magnetic resonance scanner. Axial T2-weighted and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images were acquired and evaluated for the prevalence, severity and location of WMH using the modified composite scale of Fazekas and Coffey and coded separately for deep and periventricular WMH. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between WMH and the diagnosis of PD. A greater severity of total WMH was associated with a diagnosis of PD in a dose-dependent pattern (odds ratio [OR] = 8.8, P = 0.005 for mild WMH; OR = 27.7, P = 0.007 for moderate to severe WMH). Deep WMH, where most group differences originated, were predominantly located in the frontal region of the brain (n = 16 in PD, n = 1 in control). The current report is the first study to report an increased prevalence of WMH in patients with PD.