Alcohol use disorders in Iran: Prevalence, symptoms, correlates, and comorbidity

Masoumeh Amin-Esmaeili, Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Vandad Sharifi, Ahmad Hajebi, Ramin Mojtabai, Reza Radgoodarzi, Mitra Hefazi, Abbas Motevalian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background For nearly four decades, alcohol production and consumption has been banned in the Islamic country of Iran. However, little is known about the extent of alcohol use and associated problems in the country. The paper aims to present findings on the 12-month prevalence, symptoms, severity, correlates, and comorbidity of alcohol use disorders in the Iranian population. Methods This report is based on the 2011 Iranian household Mental Health survey (IranMHS), a nationally representative face-to-face household survey with a multi-stage, cluster sampling design. A total of 7840 individuals aged 15–64 responded to the alcohol section. We assessed 12-month alcohol use disorders according to DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria and harmful use according to the ICD-10 criteria. Results Weighted prevalence of using alcohol at least once in the past 12 months was 5.7%. The prevalence of 12-month alcohol use disorders was 1% according to DSM-IV criteria and 1.3% according to DSM-5. Harmful use was reported in 0.6%. Alcohol use disorders were markedly more common in men than women with an odds ratio (OR) of 13.3. It was also more prevalent in never-married versus married individuals (OR = 2.5) and in those living in urban versus rural areas (OR = 2.4). Among those with alcohol use disorders, 46.3% had a concurrent mood or anxiety disorder. Aggressive behaviors and injuries were more likely in those with alcohol use disorders. Conclusion Although Iran has a low level of alcohol use, its adverse consequences including use disorders, aggression, and injuries are moderately common and raise serious public health concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Alcohol
  • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiology
  • Health service
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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