Ambien, Withdrawal, Depression, Side Effects

Patient: My wife has been taking ambien for about 4-5 years now. Started with 5mg in the beginning but has been on 10mg for some time now. She says it helps her sleep which I have no doubt because about 20 minutes after she has taken on an empty stomach she is out like a light. Trouble is for a long time she has been tired all throughout the day with only some days here and there feeling rested. She used to sleep through most of the night with the ambien but in the last year at least she more often than not only is able to sleep about 4 solid hours and then is mostly awake until she gets up. No doubt leading to being tired during the day and such. She complains of headaches often and pains in her neck and shoulders near everyday. Initially assumed it was all just tension related as she works alot of hours at the hospital as a nurse. I know the medical field is stressful so I just chalk it up to that. A couple times regarding the feeling tired alot and the headaches I mentioned about trying something else besides ambien and at first she said maybe but never did and last time it was a definite no and back off from my ambien. In the last 6 months she is exhibiting signs of depression (mostly mild, but at times maybe more severe). She says that she is not depressed although it appears that she very well might be to some degree. We have started having marital problems and have seen a counselor at times. She still insists that she is fine and just needs space…Which makes no sense because we are that happy couple that makes people sick and have been married for over 10.5 years now with 3 beautiful children. Our lives are crazy right now with one 5 year old and twin 3 year olds. It’s crazy, stressful, can’t hear yourself think at times. I know our lives would be and are stressful. We put ourselves in big financial stress all no doubt have lead to the marital problems. I wonder though and was curious what a doctor’s take would be on the ambien though. Am I just out of line in thinking that maybe the ambien is causing the headaches, the agitative states, tired throughout the day, stomach issues, the withdrawal from people and social situations, and handling marital issues starkly contrasted from how 6 months to a year ago would have been handled. Almost with a gloom and doom attitude. Maybe it’s just me, but I do know that the ambien she is very defensive about and says she’s not stopping it. Hindsight I’m wondering though if it could be a helping hand in all that is taking place. Any thoughts would be great. Also, she has started drinking wine with the ambien in the evenings to help her relax from work and sleep better. I do know that alcohol with the ambien can intensify effects. Not sure if wine qualifies for that, but that is certainly something new in the last 30 years so another behavior change that makes me think another connection to the above possibly? Maybe just the stress of life. Probably reaching for something but I need my wife back and if the ambien is causing any problems it needs to be dealt with. I’m under the impression that this is a short term drug and works well within that short time frame. Outside of that can be dangerous. Please help asap.