How long do the effects of neurofeedback training last?

For the neurofeedback training effect to last, therapists report there has to be “enough training.” This tends to mean overlearning or overtraining. In simple terms, you should train up to 5 to 10 sessions after you’ve seen the major symptoms improve. If you quit before symptoms have stabilized, it’s more likely the effects won’t stick.

Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee and a few others have done long-term follow-up on clients. Dr. Lubar says they’ve followed ADD clients who’ve sustained their improvements from neurofeedback for 10-20 years. Published research on epilepsy 12 months after brain training shows the effects on epilepsy usually holds. Clinicians commonly report long-lasting changes. However, much more research in this area still needs to be performed.

Certain individuals may experience a relapse of symptoms. The trigger could be an injury, trauma, extreme stress, or other major life event. Underlying neurological issues or genetic vulnerabilities may also be factors. Many clients’ results hold, and they seem not to need “maintenance” sessions. For others, ongoing brain training may be appropriate. Once someone has had intensive training, those who need “maintenance” often require only a few sessions to get them back on track. Once the brain has established new patterns from the training, it usually doesn’t take many neurofeedback maintenance sessions to recover.

Certain problems, such as brain injury, autism, Tourette’s, cerebral palsy, or other neurological problems, may require long-term, ongoing treatment to maintain improvements. For degenerative problems, including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, reports suggest neurofeedback helps stabilize function, slow the process, or may help optimize brain function with whatever resources still exist. It’s more “quality of life” training than an attempt to remediate the problem. Improved quality-of-life can significantly benefit the client.