After a long medical process I was referred to the senior medical officer for a bout of hair pulling when I was a teenager and some weeks later pronounced PMU for 'a prolonged anxiety related episode during [my] mid teens'.
I am planning to appeal it, on the grounds that I believe the hair pulling was habitual. As far as I can remember (and of course I will check) I was never diagnosed with anxiety and I was certainly never treated for it aside from stopping the hair pulling and that it was a long time ago, when I was 14/15 (I am now 21 and have had no symptoms or treatment for six years. Treatmentwise I was never prescribed medication, only advice on how to stop the hair pulling (wearing gloves in class and doodling to keep my hands busy, that sort of thing)

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on the appeal process or has been through a similar thing? Do you think I have much of a chance? I'm absolutely gutted by the decision, and want to make sure I do everything I can to overturn it.


War Hero
Sorry to hear of the circumstances.

Whilst not able nor qualified to give medical advice, what I can hopefully do is offer some common sense advice to help manage realistic expectations and hopefully give a pointer.

Generally speaking, with mental health issues, the issue is usually related to severity, treatment, duration and odds of future recurrence.

From what has been described, the history appears to relate to an issue that lasted over a prolonged period, possibly recurrent and this may well be the critical factor regarding the likelihood of recurrence.

Possibly the advice you received at the time is viewed as counselling, which in itself is effectively treatment, albeit not involving prescribed medication.

To appeal, you'll need evidence from qualified healthcare professional(s) to provide proof that the condition was a one-off, successfully treated and unlikely to re-occur in a stressful, demanding operational environment in the Armed Forces. Arguing it was just a reflex habitual issue unrelated to stress will carry no weight unless there is solid evidence from a suitably qualified medical expert in the relevant medical field.

Bear in mind there must have been an issue at the time or it would not be recorded on your medical records - this being the case, what was the trigger and how can you be certain it will not recur? (that's not me doubting you, it's the question you need to address to prove your medical suitability).

When you submit an appeal, leave the hypothesis to the experts, don't enter into unqualified technical arguments - your letter need only be brief, polite and act as a covering letter to deliver the qualified supporting medical evidence for review by the Senior Medical Officer (Service Entries). Avoid going down rabbit holes - let the experts evidence do the talking.

Best of luck.


Thanks for the advice. I'll have a talk with my GP and get what information I can.
I initially saw a councillor mainly at my parents request, though somehow I don't think telling them that will help me in any way!
Any ideas how I can prove my certainty that it won't recur again? Other than never taking medication and having no problems for the past six years I don't really know what I can tell them. I know I am in good mental health now, but it's unfortunately not something that is easily proved...


^^ Thank you, but that post turns out to have been written by my dear mother who thinks she can hide herself by referring to her son instead of her daughter because she knows I read this forum...!