How Addiction Treatment Works

Our Method Explained

What is Addiction?

Addiction, in young people especially, is sometimes difficult to identify and often appears to family members and loved ones like bad behaviour.  However, addiction is a chronic, progressive illness that is often genetic and does not necessarily come from substance abuse.

Addiction is a brain-based disorder.  Many people who suffer from addiction lack the brain chemical dopamine, which provides feelings of pleasure and reward.  For many, the disorder is present before they even begin using substances, causing them to exhibit symptoms such as:

Extreme boredom
Lack of meaning
Lack of purpose


People struggling with these symptoms often turn to substances and processes to make themselves temporarily feel better.  Chemical messages to other parts of the brain affecting things like judgement and impulse control result in addictive behaviours, and the brain adapts to this pattern.  In much the same way, however, healthy patterns of brain function can be established during recovery.

How Addiction Affects Young People

The risk of developing an addiction is exceptionally high during adolescence and young adulthood – in fact, most addictions are formed during these years.  During this time, the brain’s frontal lobe is still developing, which can affect decision-making abilities and lead to impulsive behaviour.

Risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing addiction are:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Environment
  • Access to alcohol and other substances
  • ADD, ADHD, depression and other mental health conditions

Young people who catch their addictive behaviour in the early stages have the opportunity to reverse its effects before they reach a critical stage.  Addiction is progressive – it gets worse as you get older.

Early intervention can help prevent the impairment of physical and psychological development that results from continued substance abuse.  Effects of even severe substance abuse are reversible, and young people especially show results very quickly.  Detox can be achieved within just a few days, and young clients can be on the road to recovery within a matter of weeks or months with proper nutrition, physical activity and establishing a healthy routine.

The Edge’s Addiction Treatment Method

Our revolutionary inpatient addiction treatment method at The Edge is specifically tailored to young men’s needs, and includes the following elements.  You can see a more detailed description of our daily activities here.

Psychological Counselling

Counselling encourages psychological development, stimulates changes in outlook and helps the brain develop more positive thinking patterns to combat addictive behaviour.

We use Recovery Zones, our own integrative treatment method, which combines the best elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), an adapted modern version of the 12 Steps and mindfulness.  All counselling activities are guided by Western-trained and licensed professionals with extensive experience in addiction treatment.

One-on-One Therapy    One-on-one therapy sessions are regularly held with a dedicated counsellor who remains with the client from the beginning to the end of treatment.  Each counsellor provides a highly personalised approach tailored to the individual’s specific addiction treatment needs.

Group Therapy  –  Group therapy is especially effective in addiction treatment, as participants are supported and challenged by peers who have shared experiences.  Professionally led group therapy sessions are held daily.

We incorporate a modern, adapted version of time-tested 12-Step facilitation, which gives participants the benefits and support of their fellowship and resources.

Physical Fitness

We understand that a solid routine of high-intensity physical activity can actually encourage brain change.  Physical activity not only helps to process excess energy that leads to feelings of restlessness and aids in focus and progress in recovery.  It also produces calming endorphins that help to rewire the brain over time, creating positive emotional changes.  And of course, clients can expect to leave The Edge with improved physicality, confidence and strength.

The Edge uses the challenges of intensive physical activity training as cornerstones of our programming.  Clients can choose from either a Muay Thai Boxing or Triathlon track, in addition to Wilderness Therapy.

Muay Thai Kickboxing


People from around the world come to Chiang Mai to receive high-level training in this famous Thai martial art.

Trainees are able to level up through a series of rankings by demonstrating their learned techniques, and are not required to fight or make contact if they do not wish.

Our state-of-the art facilities are clean, safe and feature good quality, well-maintained equipment.  Our small student-to-instructor ratio ensures all students receive the individual attention they need to fully develop their skills.  And of course, practising this traditional Thai sport amidst Chiang Mai’s lush surroundings makes the experience all the more immersive and enjoyable.

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Alternatively, clients can choose our Triathlon track, which entails intensive swimming, cycling, and running training.

With its stunning location, favourable climate and jungle-lined mountain roads, Chiang Mai has become one of Asia’s top cycling cities and is home a thriving cycling culture.  Positioned in a long, flat river valley and flanked by mountains offering enchanting views, Chiang Mai is the perfect location for cycling training at all levels.

Run workouts take place both at Olympic track facilities and on jungle trails, combining a variety of training techniques to build speed, stamina and form.

  • Both Muay Thai and Triathlon tracks offer extended, stepped-down treatment options that allow participants to continue their training and become part of our teaching team, contributing to the community and helping other young men hone their athletic skills and boost their personal development.

Wilderness Therapy

All programs at The Edge include extensive hiking and trekking excursions into Chiang Mai’s forested countryside.  Wilderness Therapy has been proven to be an effective tool for developing determination, communication and teamwork.  Clients will experience the diverse array of activities the area has to offer, such as:


Rock climbing




Whitewater rafting






Through facing challenges and overcoming them with support, both physically and mentally, in individual and group settings, program participants can achieve the following results:

  • Increased confidence
  • Improved mood
  • Respect for others
  • Physical fitness, endurance and coordination
  • Improved social skills
  • Ability to control impulsive behaviour
  • Finding meaning and direction
  • Enhanced empathy
  • Anger management
Our well-structured sport programming and counselling provide a context in which young men have the opportunity to develop their leadership qualities and even become mentors for others who are struggling with similar issues.

Treatment Pathway

We offer extended programme and housing options at a reduced rate that give clients the opportunity to continue developing, training and mentoring.  We also offer a unique Online Video Aftercare Programme that allows clients to attend group counselling, continue individual counselling and stay in touch with their recovery peer support network from anywhere in the world.

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