Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Allostasis, Allostatic Load

  • Yoshiharu Yamamoto
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1627-2

Definition

The process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis.

Description

Allostasis: Achieving stability through change; the ability to adapt successfully to the challenges of daily life by feedforward mechanisms to maintain viability, emphasizing the biological imperative that “an organism must vary all the parameters of its internal milieu and match them appropriately to environmental demands” (Sterling and Eyer 1988). This is an extension of homeostasis, that is, stability through constancy, maintaining constancy of a vital variable by sensing its deviation from a set point and providing feedback to correct the error. Allostasis describes mechanisms that change the variable by predicting what level will be needed and then overriding local feedback to meet anticipated demand (Sterling 2004). As such mechanisms require higher brain functions, in most cases, the allostasis deals with cephalic involvement in systemic physiological regulation, including...

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References and Further Reading

  1. McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine, 338, 171–179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. McEwen, B. S. (2000). Allostasis and allostatic load: Implications for neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology, 22, 108–124.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. McEwen, B. S. (2004). Protective and damaging effects of the mediators of stress and adaptation: Allostasis and allostatic load. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Singer, B., Ryff, C. D., & Seeman, T. (2004). Operationalizing allostatic load. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Sterling, P. (2004). Principles of allostasis: Optimal design, predictive regulation, pathophysiology, and rational therapeutics. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Sterling, P., & Eyer, J. (1988). Allostasis: A new paradigm to explain arousal pathology. In S. Fisher & J. Reason (Eds.), Handbook of life stress, cognition, and health. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Physiology LaboratoryGraduate School of Education The University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kazuhiro Yoshiuchi
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of TokyoDepartment of Stress Sciences & Psychosomatic Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineBunkyo-kuJapan