Drug abuse and depression are often linked as is self-harming.  However, when you don’t know what the problem is it’s difficult to deal with it as our Darlington Polygraph Examiner explains to a worried mother.

Q: Is my daughter old enough for a lie detector test and do you think it will help?

Keira is 17 and was a wonderful girl until she started college. She was fun loving and very outgoing but now she seems to have gone into her shell. She was fine to start with but when the Christmas and New Year holidays had ended she didn’t want to go back. I noticed the change in her pretty much straight away and asked her about it. She said she was just feeling out of sorts at the new college and was being picked on. To me she seems depressed.

I offered to speak to the school about bullying but Keira didn’t want that. She said she had it under control and that she was dealing with it. I was still concerned, but she’s growing up and I want her to know I trust her. I didn’t speak to her teachers but instead, told her I’m here for her if she needs me.

The reason for me contacting you is that I found a razor blade in her room the other day. I couldn’t see any blood on it but it had no place being there. In my experience, given my son used to be a drug addict, there could only be two reasons. The first is that she’s experimenting with drugs and the second, that she’s self-harming. I can’t remember the last time I saw her in short sleeves and given how down she’s been lately I’m really worried.  If I book a lie detector test will it help?

M L., Darlington

Response from Darlington Polygraph Examiner

Your daughter is old enough to take a lie detector test but we would need your consent, as her parent, to administer it. Working with you, we can formulate the questions so that you find out what the problem is.  Without knowing what it is, it’s very difficult for you to try to resolve it. At the moment you are working on speculation which must be very frustrating and concerning.

Razor blades are part of the drug paraphernalia used by cocaine users.  They are used to crush any lumps in the cocaine so that the fine powder can be snorted. You might want to look for a mirror or other smooth, cutting surface to see if there is any residue of powder left. If your daughter has her own bathroom, check in there first.

Drug abuse and depression

Cocaine is a stimulant, so if Keira is depressed she may be using cocaine to enhance her confidence and boost her mood.  However, the high she gets from it won’t last for long. She may end up in a cycle of regular use that can rapidly lead to addiction.

What she may not be aware of is that cocaine can actually worsen her depression. The highs after cocaine use are invariably followed by lows.  Prolonged use of this drug can cause changes in brain chemistry that deepen depression and make it more difficult to achieve the highs.

It’s also an expensive habit that gets people into debt, thereby adding to their depression. The sooner you find out if this is her problem, the better. A lie detector test can help you do that.


Whilst a lie detector test would help you discover whether Kiera is self-harming, a simpler method would be to buy her something skimpy and ask her to try it on.  If she is, a polygraph examination with carefully worded questions could establish the reason for it.

There are a myriad of reasons why people self-harm and you can read about them by clicking here

If you would like further advice, call our North East Polygraph Service customer representative on 07572 748364. It is a free helpline and anything you discuss will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.  Mention that the Darlington Polygraph Examiner has invited you to discuss your issue.  Together we can find a way forward