After two panic disorder patients’ spontaneous declarations of near-drowning experiences, I began to ask my panic patients about their past traumatic suffocation experiences—namely, near-drowning experiences in water. Twenty (33%) of 62 patients with DSM-III-R panic disorder that were seen in a 6-month period reported that they had experienced a life-threatening and frightening suffocation experience preceding the onset of their panic disorder. Their mean age at the time of the suffocation experience was 13.88 years (range=5–55, SD=10.75), and their mean age at the onset of panic disorder was 29.69 years (range=15–57, SD=10.04). Sixteen (47.1%) of 34 patients with prominent respiratory symptoms and four (14.3%) of 28 patients with nonprominent respiratory symptoms reported a near-drowning experience. The difference between subtypes (2) was significant (χ2=7.54, df=1, p=0.006). Three patients noted that they had experienced multiple instances of near drowning, and another patient had a near-drowning experience with a foreign object stuck in the throat. Among the patients with near-drowning histories (N=20), three patients were moderately phobic and four patients were severely phobic to bodies of water (N=7, 35%), although they knew how to swim.