Allostatic load refers to the wear and tear on the body that results from either too much stress or inefficient management of stress. This could mean the body is:
1 - Not turning off the stress response when it is no longer needed,
2 - Not turning on an adequate response to stress in the first place, or,
3 - Getting used to the recurrence of the same stressor over and over again.
The term allostasis refers to the active process by which the body responds to daily events and maintains homeostasis (allostasis literally means “achieving stability through change”). It is a measure of healthy adaptability. The stress response, which is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, plays a necessary and important role in adaptation to our environments.
But chronic stressors or an inability to restore homeostasis after a stressor take a dramatic toll on your body’s ability to recuperate and renew. The job of the parasympathetic nervous system is impaired. Over time, if it is not counteracted with the relaxation response, the body’s response can cause cumulative strain on multiple organs and tissues, causing illness and disease.