New Approaches to Deep Phenotyping in Addictions

Ashley L. Watts, Robert D. Latzman, Cassandra L. Boness, Roman Kotov, Lori Keyser-Marcus, Colin G. DeYoung, Robert F. Krueger, David H. Zald, F. Gerard Moeller, Tatiana Ramey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The causes of substance use disorders (SUDs) are largely unknown and the effectiveness of their treatments is limited. One crucial impediment to research and treatment progress surrounds how SUDs are classified and diagnosed. Given the substantial heterogeneity among individuals diagnosed with a given SUD (e.g., alcohol use disorder [AUD]), identifying novel research and treatment targets and developing new study designs is daunting.

METHOD: In this article, we review and integrate two recently developed frameworks, the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Phenotyping Assessment Battery (NIDA PhAB) and the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP), that hope to accelerate progress in understanding the causes and consequences of psychopathology by means of deep phenotyping, or finer-grained analysis of phenotypes.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: NIDA PhAB focuses on addiction-related processes across multiple units of analysis, whereas HiTOP focuses on clinical phenotypes and covers a broader range of psychopathology. We highlight that NIDA PhAB and HiTOP together provide deep and broad characterizations of people diagnosed with SUDs and complement each other in their efforts to address widely known limitations of traditional classification systems and their diagnostic categories. Next, we show how NIDA PhAB and HiTOP can be integrated to facilitate optimal rich phenotyping of addiction-related phenomena. Finally, we argue that such deep phenotyping promises to advance our understanding of the neurobiology of SUD and addiction, which will guide the development of personalized medicine and interventions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-375
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 29 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ashley L. Watts (principal investigator) received funding from Grant K99AA028306 from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Roman Kotov received funding from Grant R01MH122537 from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Robert F. Krueger received funding from Grant R01AG077742 and U19AG051426. The development of NIDA PhAB was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, Maryland) Grant U54DA038999. Tatiana Ramey was substantially involved in U54DA038999, consistent with her role as ScientificOfficer. Tatiana Ramey had no substantial involvement in the other cited grants. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors only and do not necessarily represent the views, official policy or position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its affiliated institutions or agencies

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • heterogeneity
  • mechanism
  • precision medicine
  • psychopathology
  • substance use disorders


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