Porn Help Line Launched by UK-Based Counselors

PHOTO: A new porn addiction site, helpaddictions.org/porn has been launched as a self-help and anonymous place for people with pornography addiction.
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Porn is a powerful draw, for some an overpowering draw. It has also always been a big money maker, and now, a British-based company, HeLPAddictions.org, has launched a for-pay porn addiction hot line.

The 24-hour counseling website was launched as a way to treat porn addicts through an anonymous, Internet-based self-help regimen program. The site's creators hope it will contribute to the recovery of millions of porn addicts around the cybersphere, and some experts say it could act as a good model for porn addiction counseling in the U.S.

"It's obvious to us that Internet-based addiction has become increasingly prevalent over the years," said Faye Blackwell, one of the site's three resident counseling experts. "This addiction carries extra baggage. People are embarrassed and guilt-ridden, and there aren't many places that they can go to talk about it."

Since the site launched eight weeks ago, Blackwell said there have been an "enormous amount of people" who have inquired about the site. Just this In the past week, she estimated that 200 to 300 people have shown interest in joining the program.

Blackwell and colleagues wanted to make the program easy and accessible. After logging on to the site and paying the program fee, members receive a 5-step therapy packet, along with downloadable audio files and access to a secure online forum community. More expensive program packages include "accountability software," which allows therapists to monitor the members' porn use, and telephone counseling sessions with one of the site's addiction counselors. Treatment packages range from $145 to $565 depending on the services purchased.

Terry Gatewood, an addiction specialist at the Sexual Recovery Institute, said that the online site covers several important steps a porn addict must face, including education about the addiction and necessary changes and ultimate ways of moving past the disease.

"There is a grieving process that comes with overcoming addiction," said Gatewood. "It's going to be painful and depressing. It's like a best friend who has been holding the deepest secrets, and now they have to get through life without that best friend."

Porn addiction is much like any other addiction; here, X-rated material is used as a means to escape the stresses of daily life. While experts say there is no definitive moment that indicates an addiction to pornography, excessive use that interferes with daily life and relationships is often sign of an addiction. And, just like drugs, if a person needs more and more to get the desired high, this can also be a sign of a growing addiction.

"The nature of the Internet makes this so easy and cheap and anonymous," said Blackwell. "But people need to know they're not alone in dealing with this, and this addiction is becoming an ever-increasing problem."

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health estimates that 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. population suffers from some sort of sexual compulsion disorder.

HeLP Addictions Rehabilitate Porn Addicts

"The fact that it's self-help-based gives the client more time to absorb and reflect on their own issue," said Blackwell. "Time is something you really need when overcoming addiction."

While Gatewood applauded the efforts and education materials on HeLPAddictions.org, he still believes that face-to-face and group counseling is best.

"I would not recommend this as an exclusion to face-to-face therapy because it's that check-in and accountability that is needed when working with addicts, but if someone is in a rural area and can't get to a therapist or a meeting, this may be the best thing they can do," said Gatewood.

"We're not here to knock pornography," said Blackwell. "There are many people who use it safely and healthily. We're not asking for censorship or prohibition; we just want to acknowledge those who find themselves getting in deeper and deeper than they want to be."

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