Internet addiction is a modern disease. The Internet and gadgets are ubiquitous in our increasingly digital-first society and are an integral part of our daily lives. This has led to an increase in Internet usage and consumption that has become uncontrollable and compulsive for some.

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For many, the Internet offers many outlets for distraction and entertainment, away from their problems and stresses. Like substance abuse or drug addiction, this type of addiction lies in the sense of satisfaction or “high” that one receives from engaging in that activity or behaviour associated with the Internet.

What are the Symptoms of Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction has many symptoms which impact the ability to lead a normal, day-to-day life, affecting school, work, and relationships. A person addicted to the Internet is often preoccupied with it, needing to use it for longer periods and losing track of the time they have spent. It can also lead to social isolation, where their Internet addiction hinders them from socialising and spending sufficient time with their friends and family.

The compulsive use of the Internet cannot be stopped or controlled, often leading to withdrawal symptoms, such as mood swings, restlessness, irritability, and anxiety when they attempt to do so. Often, the person with an Internet addiction will lie to their family and friends about their activities, be in denial about their condition, or be filled with guilt about their compulsive actions.

What are the Types of Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction takes various forms and can involve behavioural or impulse-control problems, including the following:

Cyber Sex and Relationships

This involves forming online relationships in chat rooms or other online platforms that can lead to neglect of real-life relationships. Some cases involve looking at sex-related images, videos, or pornography, visiting adult websites, or engaging in casual cybersex with other users.

Online Gaming

This involves spending inordinate amounts of time playing online games, gambling, or trading, which can lead to neglect in other aspects of life, as well as excessive spending that results in financial problems and affects one’s mental health.

Online Shopping

When a user consistently makes excessive and compulsive purchases through online shopping platforms. This can lead to severe financial problems and affect one’s relationships and mental well-being.

Social Networking

When users constantly feel the need to monitor their social networks, maintain an online persona, and seek validation online. This leads to a lack of ability to be in the moment and make real-life connections, which affects one’s self-esteem and relationships.


Some users obsessively seek information online, losing track of time and hindering their ability to fulfil their daily tasks and responsibilities.

What are the Effects of Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction has several adverse effects on the body; spending too much time in front of the computer and having a sedentary lifestyle can cause a lack of sleep, body aches, vision problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, or weight gain or loss. Emotional effects include social isolation and anxiety, which may lead to depression.

Using the Internet as a form of escapism can also lead one to lose touch with reality, and increase one’s attachment to virtual worlds and relationships instead. Some patients with Internet addiction have been shown to have symptoms of ADHD, such as difficulty concentrating, a short attention span, and poor time management, leading to a decrease in productivity.

How can Internet Addiction be Treated?

A group of people in an internet therapy session

Treatment for Internet addiction varies depending on the type and severity of the disorder. It is best to seek the help of professionals to implement an intervention and treatment plan. Treatment involves counselling and therapy sessions to learn how to cope with issues that lead one to “escape” through the Internet.

The Cabin Chiang Mai offers a practical and effective programme that considers the realities of the modern world, which is unavoidably connected to the Internet. The Cabin’s unique treatment method enables our clients to learn to live with the Internet in a healthy way. Using a combination of methods, such as cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness therapies, we provide clients with the necessary tools to develop healthy usage patterns.

Our professionally trained, licensed team of counsellors and therapists are experienced in treating behavioural and process addictions such as Internet addiction. With our caring healthcare professionals, luxurious accommodations, and the tranquil mountain surroundings at The Cabin, our clients can take crucial steps towards healing. Contact us to learn how The Cabin Chiang Mai’s rehab programme can effectively treat Internet addiction. Find out how we can support your recovery and help you get your life back.

About the Author

Dr. Saji Joseph

Dr. Saji Joseph

Gradueted MSW, PhD. Certified addiction therapist who has worked in multiple international rehabs since 2009 with a strong focus on treating addiction and related psychiatric comorbidities. His PhD work focuses on addiction relapse, and his practice is based on scientific evidence, ethics and compassion. He is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist (CSAT) Level 3 by the Asia Pacific Certification Board and an International Certified Addiction Professional (ICAP) Level 3 by the Global Centre for Credentialing and Certification.

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